Jeffrey Tambor, star of the Amazon series “Transparent,” will not return for the show’s fifth season after two women accused him of sexual misconduct. He has strenuously denied the allegations.
Jeffrey Tambor, star of the Amazon series “Transparent,” will not return for the show’s fifth season after two women accused him of sexual misconduct.
Tambor has strenuously denied the allegations, made this month by one of his co-stars and by a former assistant. But in an interview with Deadline on Sunday, he announced his departure from “Transparent,” which he called “one of the greatest privileges and creative experiences of my life.”
“I’ve already made clear my deep regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being aggressive, but the idea that I would deliberately harass anyone is simply and utterly untrue,” he said in the interview. “Given the politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don’t see how I can return to ‘Transparent.’”
Allegations of sexual misconductSince The New York Times published allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in October, multiple men in Hollywood, politics and media have faced allegations ranging from sexual misconduct to rape. Here's a list of some of the people who have been accused.
How have sexual harassment and the #MeToo conversation affected you?We want to hear your thoughts. Whether you work in tech, government, media, finance, the arts or another field, has sexual harassment or sexism affected you or the culture you work in? Are you becoming more cautious with co-workers or other people in your life?
A spokesman for Amazon declined to comment Sunday. However, officials there had already been considering writing Tambor off the show — in which he plays the lead character, Maura Pfefferman, a transgender woman — in response to the allegations.
Van Barnes, a former assistant to Tambor, wrote in a private Facebook post this month that he had sexually harassed and groped her. Amazon officials opened an investigation, and Jill Soloway, creator of “Transparent,” said she and others on the show were cooperating with it.
Soon after, actress Trace Lysette came forward publicly, saying that Tambor had “made many sexual advances and comments” and, on one occasion, physically assaulted her between takes for a scene in which both actors were wearing pajamas.
“My back was against the wall in a corner as Jeffrey approached me,” Lysette said in her statement Thursday. “He came in close, put his bare feet on top of mine so I could not move, leaned his body against me and began quick, discreet thrusts back and forth against my body. I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas, and I pushed him off of me.”
At the time, Lysette said, she laughed and brushed off the episode — because Tambor was the star of the show and she had to work with him, and because she was accustomed to such mistreatment. “Given the journey and circumstances of my life, I was used to being treated as a sexual object by men,” wrote Lysette, who is a transgender woman. “This one just happened to be famous.”
Tambor, whose representatives did not immediately respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment Sunday, has denied both women’s allegations. He initially referred to Barnes as “a former disgruntled assistant of mine” and told Deadline that he was “appalled and distressed by this baseless allegation.” And after Lysette’s statement, he told The Hollywood Reporter that he was upset to “find myself accused of behavior that any civilized person would condemn unreservedly.”
“I know I haven’t always been the easiest person to work with,” he said. “I can be volatile and ill-tempered, and too often I express my opinions harshly and without tact. But I have never been a predator — ever.”
In response to the flood of sexual harassment and assault allegations against prominent men in the past few weeks — from Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. to Senate candidate Roy Moore and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. — the executives behind many projects have been forced to decide what to do when a star becomes toxic.
In some cases, these projects have been canceled. Netflix, for example, suspended production on “House of Cards” after its star, Spacey, was accused of making a sexual advance on actor Anthony Rapp when Rapp was 14. (Allegations by many other men have been reported since.) And when a New York Times investigation revealed multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by comedian Louis C.K., a distributor canceled the premiere of his movie “I Love You, Daddy,” and FX and other networks broke ties with him.
But in her statement, Lysette urged Amazon not to cancel “Transparent,” but instead to “remove the problem and let the show go on.” The series has been a leader in affirming and employing transgender people — both she and Barnes are transgender women — and they should not be punished for Tambor’s actions, she said.
Tambor, 73, is also known for his role in the TV series “Arrested Development,” which originally ran from 2003-2006 but has been revived twice since. Netflix recently finished shooting the fifth season, and it was unclear Sunday how it would respond.