Jeffrey Tambor’s involvement in Arrested Development is causing a lot of complications.
The former Transparent star left the Amazon series after he was accused of sexual misconduct by his former assistant Van Barnes, as well as verbally harassing actress Trace Lysette.
Tambor, 73, has starred on 66 episodes of Netflix’s Arrested Development but his status as an accused harasser has cast the show’s future in doubt.
Lead actor Jason Bateman insisted he would not do any more episodes of Arrested Development without Tambor’s inclusion. “I won’t do it without you,” Bateman told Tambor during a sit-down with the New York Times. “I can tell you that.”
After the above comments emerged online, it didn’t take long before Bateman was criticized for defending the star and he’s since taken to Twitter to admit, “I was wrong here,” as well as apologizing to co-star Jessica Walter, who said Tambor verbally harassed her on set.
Bateman’s Twitter posts come after he also said of the verbal harassment allegations against Tambor: “Not to belittle it or excuse it or anything, but in the entertainment industry it is incredibly common to have people who are, in quotes, ‘difficult.’ And when you’re in a privileged position to hire people or have an influence on who gets hired, you make phone calls.”
He added, “And you say, ‘Hey, so I’ve heard X about person Y, tell me about that.’ And what you learn is context. And you learn about character and you learn about work habits, work ethics, and you start to understand.”
Despite his comments, the Arrested Development cast is not entirely on Tambor’s side. “But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. And the point is that things are changing, and people need to respect each other differently,” argued Alia Shawkat.
“What we do for a living is not normal, and therefore the process is not normal sometimes, and to expect it to be normal is to not understand what happens on set,” argued Bateman. “Again, not to excuse it, Alia, but to be surprised by people having a wobbly route to their goal, their process — it’s very rarely predictable.”
Fellow actress Jessica Walter accused Tambor of harassing her on set.
“He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever,” Walter said through tears. “Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. In like almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set.”
Walter still plans on working with Tambor, however, who was sitting near her during the interview: “I don’t want to walk around with anger. I respect him as an actor. We’ve known each other for years and years and years… Of course, I would work with him again in a heartbeat.”
Actor Thomas Sadoski was among those to immediately jump to Walter’s defence, calling Tambor’s behaviour “bulls**t” and “pathetic.”
An array of writers and journalists also joined social media users to slam Bateman’s comments online.
See some of the response below:
Arrested Development returns to Netflix on May 29 with the first half of season five.