Arrested Development star Jessica Walter has emotionally disclosed that Jeffrey Tambor verbally harassed her on the set of the comedy.
Speaking through tears during a New York Times group interview with the cast of the Netflix comedy centered around a dysfunctional family, Walter discussed an incident where Tambor emotionally blew up on the set.
“I have to let go of being angry at him,” said Walter. “He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever. Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize.”
She added that in “almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set and it’s hard to deal with, but I’m over it now. I just let it go right here, for The New York Times.”
“I have to let it go,” Walter said, looking at Tambor a few feet away. “And I have to give you a chance to, you know, for us to be friends again.”
The Times interview featured cast members Walter, Tambor along with co-stars Jason Bateman, Alia Shawkat, Will Arnett and David Cross. The interview was freewheeling until the discussion turned to the Emmy-winning Tambor, who had been charged with sexual misconduct on the set of Amazon’s Transparent.
More: Jeffrey Tambor fired from ‘Transparent’ after Amazon’s sexual harassment inquiry
Also: Jeffrey Tambor: ‘Transparent’ firing was a wake-up call to ‘be more of a gentleman’
Tambor has repeatedly denied the allegations, but was fired from the program in February after an inquiry.
During the Times discussion, Tambor was asked about a past interview he had given to The Hollywood Reporter where he had discussed a “blowup” towards Walter on the Arrested Development set.
Tambor said he had “reckoned” with his past behavior.
“And I profusely have apologized,” he said, adding of past outbursts, “That’s unconscionable, and I’m working on it and I’m going to put that behind me.”
Bateman, while not excusing the behavior, noted that acting together on a show for 15 years is an unusual emotional situation.
“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. I know nothing about Transparent but I do know a lot about Arrested Development. 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.
When Walter was asked if she had reservations working with Tambor again, she replied, “Of course not.”
“No. I’ve just given it up. And you know, there’s something really, really freeing about that now. I realize that,” she said. “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. No, no, no, no. Of course, I would work with him again in a heartbeat.”
Meanwhile, co-star Jason Bateman, who plays the son of Tambor and Walters’ characters, is doing damage control after realizing Wednesday’s New York Times interview made it look like he was mansplaining on behalf of his TV mom.
“Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here,” he said in a series of tweets Thursday morning. “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. 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! 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.”
He concluded, “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.”