Transparent may be moving forward without Jeffrey Tambor, but not very far. Late last year, reports emerged that the actor—who led the Amazon dramedy for the first four seasons—had sexually harassed his co-star Trace Lysette and former personal assistant Van Barnes, both of whom are trans women. Tambor initially walked away from the series, only to change his mind later, but ultimately Amazon confirmed that the actor would no longer be a part of the series.
In a profile of Tambor, The Hollywood Reporter breaks down the timeline of the allegations, Amazon and Tambor’s respective statements, Transparent creator Jill Soloway’s response, and his future in Hollywood (he’s very much a part of Arrested Development season 5). There are also implications that Tambor was being pushed out of the show over not just the claim that he once told Lysette, “My God, Trace. I want to attack you sexually,” but due to the fact that, as a cis man, his casting as a trans woman has always been controversial. Soloway and their sister Faith Soloway, who say they never “disbelieved” the allegations once they learned of them, admitted to sending Tambor emails expressing their support for the actor while desperately trying to figure out how to deal with the situation, including proposing Tambor return, but only in flashbacks as Mort Pfefferman pre-transition.
Tambor’s denied any wrongdoing, but tells THR he was preparing for a “slap on the wrist” for what he himself called “temperamental outbursts on the set” of Transparent. But after Tambor was questioned further, Soloway issued a statement expressing “great respect and admiration for Van Barnes and Trace Lysette, whose courage in speaking out about their experience on Transparent is an example of the leadership this moment in our culture requires.” Tambor was subsequently let go, but not before stating that he was “‘profoundly disappointed’ in the ‘deeply flawed and biased’ investigation’s outcome and ‘even more disappointed in Jill Soloway’s unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to my fellow castmates.’”
With a fifth season still in the works, Soloway (who came out non-binary last year) tells THR they feel “a tiny bit like we are going to be OK.” Still, the upcoming season will be the show’s last, according to Soloway (there’s currently no statement or comment from Amazon on the show’s future). The show’s creator hopes the Pfefferman family will have “some sort of beautiful reclaiming. I think we’re going to get there with some time.”