This seating arrangement was funny, girl.
Actress and singer Lea Michele was ironically seated behind talk show host Ziwe Fumudoh at the 2023 US Open men’s finals at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City on Sunday.
Fumodoh, 31, seemed to be in bright spirits, wearing an equally bright yellow tweed jacket while seated next to her friend, supermodel Emily Ratajkowski. The “Funny Girl” Broadway star, meanwhile, was seated next to her husband, Zandy Reich.
The awkward positioning of the foursome in the VIP suite during the Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev face-off raised some eyebrows. Less than nine months ago, Fumudoh interviewed Michele’s former “Glee” costar Amber Riley about allegations of racism on the hit television show’s set.
Fumodoh asked Riley, “Now, speaking of getting down in the muck, you said that one of your famous coworkers wasn’t racist. Did you mean that she was?”
While Riley did her best to deflect Fumudoh’s questions, the host was quite adamant. “Would you say that your famous coworker (Michele) doesn’t see race and is, in fact, rude to all of her coworkers?” she asked in 2022.
“I think that she would probably say she doesn’t see race,” Riley said. “But everyone does.”
In 2020, actress Samantha Ware, who once appeared on “Glee,” separately accused Michele of being a mean girl on set and implied that she might have “racist tendencies.”
“I knew from Day One when I attempted to introduce myself. There was nothing gradual about it,” Ware told Variety. “As soon as she decided that she didn’t like me, it was very evident.”
Ware, who played Jane Hayward on the Ryan Murphy series, first brought up her issues with Michele when she posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, about George Floyd — who died in the custody of Minneapolis police — using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
“When you tweet, ‘Black lives matter,’ that would mean you have an understanding of what that hashtag means, but it’s clear that it doesn’t,” Ware explained.
“Does Lea even know what a microaggression is? I don’t know. All that her apology did was affirm that she hasn’t learned anything,” she said at the time. “Am I calling Lea a racist? No. Does Lea have racist tendencies? I think Lea suffers from a symptom of living in this world in an industry that is tailored to white people.”
Fans were not the only ones that recognized Fumudoh and Michele’s seating arrangement on Sunday. “Watch What Happens Live” producer Frank Costa tweeted an image of the group and wrote, “Lea Michele sitting behind Ziwe and Emily Ratajkowski at the US Open. I need a full breakdown of any & all interactions.”
Michelle, for her part, apologized following Ware’s claims of “traumatic microaggresions” on set in a lengthy statement via Instagram in June 2020.
“I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused,” she shared at the time. “One of the most important lessons of the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people’s perspectives and any role we have played or anything we can do to help address the injustices that they face.”
She continued, “Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused. We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect my own shortcomings.” Michele also denied that she ever “judged others by their background or color of their skin.”