Jason Bateman apologizes after ‘New York Times’ interview for ‘excusing’ Jeffrey Tambor’s on-set behavior

Jason Bateman is apologizing after a recent interview he and his “Arrested Development” castmates gave to the New York Times, in which it appears Bateman is defending Jeffrey Tambor’s on-set behavior.

Bateman’s co-star Jessica Walter tearfully confirmed in the wide-ranging interview that she was verbally harassed by her on-screen husband, Tambor, 73, during the season five production of the Netflix comedy.

“Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. I have to let it go,” Walter, 77, told the paper.

Tambor also said in the article that he “apologized” to Walter, before adding that he’s aware of his “temper and I yelled at people and I hurt people’s feelings. And that’s unconscionable, and I’m working on it and I’m going to put that behind me, and I love acting.”

Bateman, 49, who portrays the show’s main character Michael Bluth, chimed in saying, “But this is a family and families, you know, have love, laughter, arguments — again, not to belittle it, but a lot of stuff happens in 15 years.”

“And I can say that no matter what anybody in this room has ever done — and we’ve all done a lot, with each other, for each other, against each other — I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I have zero complaints,” he continued. “Again, 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.'”

By Thursday, Bateman had a change of heart after receiving backlash on social media.

“Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here,” he wrote on Twitter. “I sound like I’m condoning yelling at work. I do not. It sounds like I’m excusing Jeffery. I do not. It sounds like I’m insensitive to Jessica. I am not. In fact, I’m horrified that I wasn’t more aware of how this incident affected her.”

Bateman added, “I was so eager to let Jeffrey know that he was supported in his attempt to learn, grow and apologize that I completely underestimated the feelings of the victim, another person I deeply love – and she was sitting right there!”

Bateman then apologized to Walter.

“I’m incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry to have done that to Jessica. This is a big learning moment for me. I shouldn’t have tried so hard to mansplain, or fix a fight, or make everything okay. I should’ve focused more on what the most important,” he continued. “Part of it all is – there’s never any excuse for abuse, in any form, from any gender. And, the victim’s voice needs to be heard and respected. Period. I didn’t say that and instead said a bunch of other stuff and not very well. I deeply, and sincerely, apologize.”

ABC News reached out to a rep for Tambor and Walter, but so far no word back. Still, Walter told the New York Times through tears that she had an epiphany during the interview.

“I have to let go of being angry at him,” she said. “He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever. Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. I have to let it go. And I have to give you [Tambor] a chance to, you know, for us to be friends again.”

“Absolutely,” Tambor responded.

Season five, which premieres on Netflix May 29, has already been mired by sexual harassment allegations against Tambor on the set of a different show — his now-former Emmy Award-winning series, “Transparent.”

Earlier this year, it was announced that Tambor would not be returning to the Amazon series following sexual harassment allegations lodged against him by his former personal assistant, Van Barnes, and actress Trace Lysette.

Tambor spoke out earlier this month about leaving “Transparent,” saying he was upset at the way Amazon handled his dismissal, but that “I drove myself and my castmates crazy. Lines got blurred. I was difficult. I was mean … And I apologized and everything, but still.”

Months later, a Netflix spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that Tambor would resume his role as George Bluth Sr. on “Arrested Development.”



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