In a statement Sunday, the Transparent star implies, though he doesn’t confirm, an imminent departure from the Emmy-winning series.
Tambor referenced what he calls a “politicized atmosphere” that has afflicted the set. He said that this is “no longer the job I signed up for four years ago.”
“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. Given the politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don’t see how I can return to Transparent,” Tambor said Sunday.
Due to the wording of Tambor’s statement, it’s not clear if he was forced out, fired or if he voluntarily left the series.
Tambor has repeatedly denied the allegations made against him, which are both under investigation by Amazon Studios. Allegations against Tambor include unwanted remarks and advances that he made against both actress Trace Lysette and a former personal assistant for Tambor, Van Barnes.
Lysette, who plays Shea, a yoga instructor, alleges that Tambor “sexualized” her with an “over-the-top comment” after seeing her in costume for a scene they shared together in Season 2.
“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,” Lysette said.
She admitted to laughing it off and “compartmentalizing” the incident. “It was discreet. If you were behind Jeffrey, you might have thought he was giving me a hug,” she said.
Tambor issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter in response to Lysette’s allegations:
“For the past four years, I’ve had the huge privilege — and huge responsibility — of playing Maura Pfefferman, a transgender woman, in a show that I know has had an enormous, positive impact on a community that has been too long dismissed and misunderstood,” Tambor said. “Now I find myself accused of behaviour that any civilized person would condemn unreservedly. I know I haven’t always been the easiest person to work with.”
The statement continued: “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. I am deeply sorry if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being sexually aggressive or if I ever offended or hurt anyone. But the fact is, for all my flaws, I am not a predator and the idea that someone might see me in that way is more distressing than I can express.”
Barnes made similar claims of abuse towards Tambor. Her lawyer, Alana Chazan, claims she signed nondisclosure agreements that kept her from commenting on the details of her allegations. Barnes also refused to publicly comment on how Tambor treated her, but she did detail the treatment in a private Facebook post, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
She does not name Tambor outright, but she writes of an employer who made comments such as, “I should be sleeping with him if I want a Hollywood industry-appropriate pay grade,” and “It wouldn’t take long, he pops quick.”
She also alleges that the same employer gave her unsolicited “butt pats” and played pornography at loud volumes.
Both Lysette and Barnes claim that they went to Transparent producers to complain of Tambor’s behaviours, but no action was taken in result of their complaints.
Tambor has won two Emmys for portraying Maura Pfefferman in the highly regarded show, which is now in its fourth season. The allegations made against Tambor have put its future in jeopardy.
Should Tambor part ways with Transparent, it would be the latest professional casualty of the anti-sexual harassment movement that is upending Hollywood at all levels. Over the past few weeks, Kevin Spacey was fired from House of Cards and cut out of the film All the Money in the World, and Louis C.K. had a Netflix standup special axed and was removed from Saturday’s HBO benefit A Night of Too Many Stars.
—With files from the Associated Press