Former stars of “Glee” are speaking out on social media and pleading with fans for “respect” in response to the ongoing search for Naya Rivera, who went missing last week and is feared to have drowned.
Rivera, 33, had been boating with her 4-year-old son on Lake Piru in California last week when her son was discovered on the boat alone; he reportedly told investigators that his mother never returned to the boat and her life jacket was found alongside him.
In response to a massive effort to recover Rivera, people on social media have been bullying the actor’s former co-stars of the Fox show about saying something publicly in regards to the situation.
Amber Riley tweeted on Sunday night, defending her prior silence on the matter: “Show some respect. All our energy is going toward helping find Naya and praying for her safe return and for her family.”
She added that “no one owes anyone online a performance of grief” and that the situation is “very real and devastating.”
“Focus on Naya and her family. Not us. We don’t matter right now,” she said.
Kevin McHale later quote-tweeted Riley’s message, adding that he “cannot begin to understand what Naya’s family must be feeling.”
“I know the rest of us are completely shattered, but not without hope. Please respect her family & their privacy in this moment. Please refrain from judging those who don’t show their pain on social media. ♥️,” he wrote.
Riley and McHale’s missives come on the heels of their “Glee” co-star Lea Michele deactivating her Twitter account.
While Michele hasn’t publicly indicated why she deleted the account, there has been much speculation that her withdrawal from Twitter is a result of the onslaught of bullying she’s been getting on the platform ― particularly in the wake of Rivera’s disappearance.
Critics lambasted Michele for not speaking out in support of Rivera, especially after an incident earlier this year where “Glee” alum Samantha Marie Ware claimed that Michele made her time on the show a “living hell” due to “traumatic microaggressions.”
As the search for Rivera continues, “Glee” co-star Heather Morris stepped up to the plate, reaching out to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office to see if she could join them and help search for her “close friend” at Lake Piru.
In a tweet to the office over the weekend, Morris wrote that she wants to “help in any way.”
“I have left a message with the department of Rescue and Air today, and I will call again tomorrow,” she wrote.