Jeffrey Tambor Is Not Returning To 'Transparent' After Sexual Harassment Allegations
On Thursday, Feb. 15, Deadline reported that Amazon has confirmed Jeffrey Tambor is not returning to Transparent for Season 5. This update comes after Amazon reportedly conducted an investigation into multiple sexual harassment allegations against Tambor, which the actor has repeatedly denied. (Bustle reached out to Amazon and Tambor’s manager for comment about this news, but did not receive an immediate response.)
UPDATE: Tambor told Entertainment Weekly that he is "profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations." He also called the investigation "deeply flawed" and "biased toward the toxic politicized atmosphere that afflicted our set."
Tambor's statement to EW continues:
“I am even more disappointed in Jill Soloway’s unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow cast mates. In our four-year history of working together on this incredible show, these accusations have NEVER been revealed or discussed directly with me or anyone at Amazon... As I have consistently stated, I deeply regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone and I will continue to vehemently defend myself. I also deeply regret that this ground-breaking show, which changed so many lives, is now in jeopardy. That, to me, is the biggest heartbreak.”
EARLIER: Three months ago, Tambor announced that he was leaving the series in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against him. On Nov. 19, 2017, Tambor released a statement to Deadline, which read:
“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.”
The accusations first came to light on Nov. 8, 2017 when Deadline reported that Amazon was investigating sexual harassment allegations against the Transparent star. According to Deadline, Tambor’s former assistant Van Barnes alleged that the actor behaved inappropriately with her. And then, on Nov. 16, 2017, Deadline reported that Trace Lysette, who plays Shea on the scripted series, also accused Tambor of sexual harassment. And in a Nov. 22, 2017 interview with Refinery29, makeup artist Tamara Delbridge made allegations against Tambor, too. Tambor has denied all of the above.
In the wake of these claims, Tambor told Us Weekly in November:
"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. Now I 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. 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."
After Amazon announced Tambor’s firing on Thursday, series creator Jill Soloway issued the following statement to The Hollywood Reporter:
“I have 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. We are grateful to the many trans people who have supported our vision for 'Transparent' since its inception and remain heartbroken about the pain and mistrust their experience has generated in our community. We are taking definitive action to ensure our workplace respects the safety and dignity of every individual, and are taking steps to heal as a family.”
According to Deadline, the investigation into the allegations commenced after Tambor's former personal assistant, Barnes, shared a private Facebook post in November. She accusing her former boss of committing various acts of alleged sexual misconduct, including claims of being groped and propositioned. Tambor denied these allegations in a statement to Deadline:
“I am aware that a former disgruntled assistant of mine has made a private post implying that I had acted in an improper manner toward her. I adamantly and vehemently reject and deny any and all implication and allegation that I have ever engaged in any improper behavior toward this person or any other person I have ever worked with. I am appalled and distressed by this baseless allegation.”
Several days later, Lysette, a transgender actor who has been part of the Transparent ensemble since 2014, released a statement to THR in which she accused her co-star of allegedly getting physical with her while on set after allegedly making an inappropriate sexual comment about her.
Warning: The following section contains allegations of sexual misconduct, which some may find triggering.
Lysette told THR:
“Then later, in between takes, I stood in a corner on the set as the crew reset for a wide shot. My back was against the wall in a corner as Jeffrey approached me. 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.”
Tambor denied Lysette’s claims. “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," he told Deadline. "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.”
In the aforementioned Refinery29 interview, Delbridge claimed that Tambor kissed her while she was working on 2001 movie Never Again. She alleged, “He grabbed me out of nowhere and kissed me on the lips.” Delbridge said she was “shocked” by this behavior. Tambor denied this allegation as well. In a Nov. 22, 2017 statement to Deadline, he claimed he had “no recollection” of this interaction and wrote it off as nothing “more than an enthusiastic farewell.”
Tambor has yet to comment on his reported firing, and it's currently unclear what will happen to the actor's Transparent character, Maura, going forward.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.