Now the story of an interview with the Arrested Development cast, which delved into Jeffrey Tambor’s admitted verbal abuse of co-star Jessica Walter, and the one actor who had to dismiss her concerns every chance he got in this 10-minute conversation. It’s apology time.
On Wednesday, The New York Times published an interview with Walter, Tambor, Alia Shawkat, Will Arnett, and Jason Bateman, who did enough mansplaining for the whole cast, but still got some help from co-stars David Cross and Tony Hale. The reporter, Sopan Deb, introduces the chat as “a freewheeling, at times emotional conversation that had the air of a family Thanksgiving dinner,” which turns out to be quite apt, right down to the tears. Deb addresses the elephant in the room—sexual harassment allegations made against Tambor by his former Transparent co-star Trace Lysette and former assistant, Van Barnes, who are both trans women—and the public support of his Arrested co-stars and platform in the face of them.
This leads to discussion of Tambor’s admission earlier this month to The Hollywood Reporter that he’d blown up at Walter on the set of the Netflix comedy. Bateman, who had just said he wouldn’t continue to work on the show without Tambor, immediately jumps in to say everyone in the cast has done that, which sounds shitty and, as Walter points out, inaccurate. “You’ve never yelled at me like that,” she tells Bateman, who spends most of the interview prefacing every condescending comment or dismissal of her feelings with “not to belittle” or “not to speak for you, but”s. Bateman repeatedly claims that Tambor yelling at Walter in such a way that she considers it one of the lowest points in her 60-year career is just the way a work family behaves, and otherwise does nothing but support Tambor, who was fired from Transparent over those sexual harassment allegations, even as Walter breaks down and cries.
An audio recording of that moment is now available in the Times’ article, in which you can hear Shawkat tell Bateman that even if that kind of behavior existed before, it’s not acceptable and won’t be tolerated anymore. Other than Walter, Shawkat’s the only one who understands that in all this talk of forgiving or supporting “family,” the only person getting that kind of consideration is Tambor. Now, after being lambasted on social media, Bateman’s tweeted an apology.
The actor claims he wasn’t excusing Tambor’s behavior, even though his statements read an awful lot like the old “volatile artist” defense, as well as asking who among us hasn’t screamed at Jessica Walter. But Bateman does admit that in his rush to show support for Tambor, he threw Walter under the bus.