In July of 2020, Naya Rivera was pronounced dead after a tragic pontoon boating accident. While no one is sure what happened the day Naya drowned, her death was felt throughout Hollywood, inspiring a number of tributes from her former lovers, co-stars, and family members.
Glee creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan chimed in to send their condolences and even offered to set up a college fund for Naya’s almost six-year-old son, Josey. While Ryan’s sentiments seemed to be pure, his promise to Naya’s family is receiving backlash on social media. Here’s why.
Naya Rivera’s father hints Ryan Murphy never set up Josey’s college fund.
Upon learning news of Naya’s death, Ryan released a statement that expressed his love for the late actress, who the screenwriter says that he had grown to see as family.
The statement explained, “We disagreed, we fought, we made up, then we fought some more, than we made up again. The kinds of things that happen in a family. Naya was more than just an actor on our show — she was our friend. Our hearts go out to her family, especially her mom, Yolanda, who was a big part of the Glee family and her son Josey."
Ryan later shared his intentions to financially support the person who Naya “loved most of all” — a sentiment that was applauded by spectators on social media. One fan wrote, “They're setting up a college fund for Josey and I know most of us disliked them most of the time for their writing choices or anything else related to the show, but I have so much respect for them.”
While this message was later retweeted by Naya’s father, George Rivera, a year later, he feels much differently. In a series of tweets, George recently called out Ryan for his alleged inaction, threatening to reveal the truth about his experience with the American Horror Story creator.
George wrote, “Everyone needs to know what Ryan Murphy really did ... or didn’t do !!! I’m about to blow up this story .... and make sure he’s knows that I know."
He continued, “When you are part of the Hollywood elite, some people treat others as they are 'less than' .... vocalize a good game, but it’s as shallow as the sets on stage, that they create. Promises made in public, only to fade with time and excuses .... even in a unexplainable tragedy."
Naya’s father’s ambiguous tweets don’t tell us much, but they do reveal that the showrunners are far from being on good terms with Naya’s family. Some fans suggest that George is referring to Naya’s possible mistreatment on the set of Glee, which many former cast members have called a toxic work environment.
In the past, Ryan Murphy said that he had the “best and worst” time of his life working on the series. In a 2016 interview, he shared, “There was a lot of infighting. There was a lot of people sleeping together and breaking up. It was good training for being a parent, I’ll tell you that much.”
He added, “But I also made a mistake: We all got too personal. We loved it so much that we would all go out to dinner and we’d hang out and we were always together, so there was no delineation between who was the boss and who was the employee. And we were all so close that finally when something would happen, it would be so personal to me that I would literally hit the roof.”
In response to the viral claims that Josey's college fund was never set up, a representative for Ryan issued a statement to Entertainment Tonight, saying, "Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan have committed to fund and create a college fund for her child through the Naya Rivera Estate Trust, and have been in repeated conversations with the appropriate executors of her estate."