An instantly infamous New York Times interview with the cast of Arrested Development that ran earlier this week has sparked a conversation about what director Steven Soderbergh has called the “extreme asshole clause” in entertainment—the idea that, just because a person’s abusive behavior on set isn’t sexual in nature, that doesn’t make it acceptable. And now Netflix is removing itself from that conversation by canceling a planned UK leg of the Arrested Development season five press tour, as Comic Book Resources reports.
Up until this week, Netflix’s general strategy seems to have been to ignore co-star Jeffrey Tambor’s recent firing from Amazon’s Transparent after reports that he sexually harassed several trans women who work on that show. Netflix submitted Tambor for Emmys consideration along with the rest of the Arrested Development cast—in contrast to Amazon’s quietly removing him from consideration for Transparent—and sent Tambor out for interviews like the sympathetic profile that ran in The Hollywood Reporter a few weeks back. There, he mentioned a “blowup” aimed at Jessica Walter, who plays Tambor’s onscreen wife, on the Arrested Development set, to which Walter’s reps replied: “Jessica does not wish to talk about Jeffrey Tambor.”
But The New York Times asked. And Walter’s male co-stars, including Jason Bateman, Tony Hale, and David Cross—Will Arnett stayed quiet during this portion of the interview—proceeded to defend Tambor, minimizing and explaining away his behavior while Walter, who was in tears by the end of the interview, protested that she had never been treated so poorly in her 60 years in the entertainment industry. They talked over her.
Bateman offered up an apology on Twitter soon thereafter, as did Hale. Cross has not yet proffered up a written apology to Walter, but told Gothamist, “I will unequivocally apologize to Jessica. I’m sorry that we behaved the way we behaved ... I think we kind of got what we deserved.” (The reason he hadn’t publicly apologized before that, according to Cross, is that he’s been off Twitter at the behest of his wife, Time’s Up founding member Amber Tamblyn, since the interview was published.)
Cross added that he’s been in contact with co-star Alia Shawkat—the only member of the cast to say, “this isn’t okay,” in the NYT interview—about what happened, and “I agreed with Alia that there was no excuse. There’s never an excuse ever for yelling at somebody and humiliating them in front of other people.” He added that things had gotten tense on the set before, but “there’s yelling and then there’s what Jeffrey did ... I think what Jeffrey did was egregious and there was a little bit of cruelty to it.” Asked exactly what Tambor said in his “blowup” at Walter in front of the cast and crew, Cross demurred.