When the two actors appeared on the late night show earlier this month, they participated in a game of charades. For the segment, Michele was on the same team as The Tonight Show’s singer, Tariq Trotter, and Sink was on the same team as Jimmy Fallon.
After introducing the Stranger Things star to the stage, Fallon went on to welcome Michele. When the Glee star walked onto the stage, she waved to the audience and briefly tapped Sink’s arm. Michele then reached across the actor and Trotter to shake Fallon’s hand.
She then stepped in front ofThe Whale star to approach Trotter and shake his hand. Once she let go of his arm, the Funny Girl continued to stand in between Sink and Trotter.
The two women then left their spots, as Fallon directed them to take a seat on the sofa. Michele walked past Sink to take her seat on the left couch, while the 20-year-old actor sat on the right one.
Although it isn’t clear where Michele was supposed to be standing, when she walked onto the stage, fans accused her of taking Sink’s spot in the center. On TikTok, one fan, who goes by the username @dracosweeney, shared a clip of Michele’s introduction and questioned her gesture towards Sink.
“Why did she move Sadie out of the way like that,” the text over the video reads. “She literally took her spot.”
In the caption, the TikTok user also claimed that Michele “barely said hi” to Sink.
Another TikTok user, who goes by the username @bricooper.mezzosoprano, also shared the clip from the show and praised Sink for how she reacted when Michele stepped in front of her.
“Did anyone else catch this move?” the text over the video read. “Sadie was very humble and politely countered.”
TikTok users went to the comments of the video to critcise Michele.
“Lea has always just been about Lea,” one wrote, while another added: “And then Lea copied her body language and clasped her hands…. Sadie owned that.”
A third person wrote: “And then Lea copied her body language and clasped her hands…. Sadie owned that.”
However, some viewers disagreed and explained why they thought that Michele wasn’t being rude.
“[There’s] a 99 per cent chance [she was] told to stand there by the producers,” one wrote.
“I’m not a fan but they just introduced Lea so shouldn’t she naturally be [in the] center for this time,” another added.
Many fans also took the video as an opportunity to poke fun at the viral joke that Michele doesn’t know how to read.
“Wait Lea couldn’t read the room,” one said, while another joked: “She couldn’t read the cue cards or teleprompter.”
In September, Michele shut down the online joke that she’s illiterate and called it “sad”.
“I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day,” she told The New York Times. “And then there’s a rumour online that I can’t read or write? It’s sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.”
The Independent has contacted representatives for Sink and Michele for comment.