October 27, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

‘Glee’ star Heather Morris walks back Mark Salling comments

“Glee” actress Heather Morris has apologized for tweeting in defense of her late costar Mark Salling, who was arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography before he died.

Late Monday afternoon, Morris responded to sharp criticism for since-deleted tweets, in which she lamented only being able to publicly grieve for late “Glee” stars Cory Monteith and Naya Rivera — but not Salling because of his criminal record.

In 2017, Salling — who played football jock Noah “Puck” Puckerman on “Glee” — agreed to plead guilty to downloading more than 50,000 images of child pornography and sexualized images of children on his laptop, as well as 4,000 other photos and 160 videos of child pornography on a flash drive.

“To all those who felt triggered by my message, I want to sincerely apologize for the harm I caused,” Morris tweeted Monday. “Whether you, a friend, a family member has been a victim of pedophilia, I realize my words may have been insensitive to your experience and for that I can’t express how sorry I am.”

Morris, who played spacey cheerleader Brittany S. Pierce on “Glee,” first came under fire last week when she criticized a fan for covering Salling’s face with a vomit emoji in a throwback still from a “Glee” holiday episode. The actress and dancer came across the edited photo after fellow “Glee” alum Kevin McHale shared it on Twitter.

“The vomit face on Marks face is offensive,” Morris replied, igniting a swift backlash from fans who proceeded to replace Morris’ head with a vomit emoji as well, or crop her and Salling out of the still.

“I don’t feel the need to ever justify something because somethings are better left unsaid,” Morris continued in follow-up tweets that have also been removed.

“Y’all who have lots of things to say, I get it, I UNDERSTAND you…somethings are unforgivable. But this holiday season, amongst ALL holiday seasons is INCREDIBLE hard for so many of us.”

Morris’ controversial remarks come less than a year after Rivera — who portrayed her on-screen wife, Santana Lopez, on “Glee” — drowned in Lake Piru while on a boating excursion with her 4-year-old son.

After Monteith — who played football star Finn — was killed by a mix of alcohol and heroin in 2013, and Salling took his own life in 2018, Rivera became the third “Glee” cast member to die in the last seven years.

“We did not just lose 2 cast members, we lost 3,” Morris continued in her remarks last week. “And it is SO incredible tough to have to act like that 3rd one is invisible, because even though his actions are unjustifiable, he was a part of our family at one point and he was mentally SICK. Yes pedophilia is a sickness …”

“Although I don’t want to have to say all that, its truthful,” she added. “So THANK YOU for [treating] me with such disrespect and unkindness during a time that I can’t get through a day without balling my eyes out at the loss of my entire Glee family… thank you.”

Shortly after Rivera died in July, Morris visited Lake Piru with other “Glee” alumni and penned a touching tribute to her longtime friend and scene partner. This holiday season, Morris has been raising funds and awareness in Rivera’s honor for Alexandria House, a transitional housing facility for women and children in Los Angeles.

“You constantly taught me lessons about grief, about beauty and poise, about being strong, resilient and about not giving a f— (but still somehow respectful),” Morris wrote in her salute to Rivera.

“Yet, the utmost important lesson I learned most of all from you was being a consistent and loving friend. You were the first to check in, the first to ask questions, the first to listen..you cherished our friendship and I never took that for granted.”