In yet another reminder that social media is a powerful thing, Arrested Development has canceled its U.K. press tour, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The decision was announced Thursday night, and comes in the wake of an explosive social media response to an interview with the show's cast that was published Wednesday in the New York Times. Arrested Development Season 5 is set to premiere on May 29, which leaves just a few days for some serious damage control. And this latest decision from Netflix appears to indicate that they're taking the concerns of fans seriously. (Bustle reached out to Netflix for comment on the tour cancellation, but did not receive an immediate response.)
On May 24, the streaming platform released a statement to THR, just one day after the release of the Times article in question. In it, Netflix indicated they'd be making some changes to the slated U.K. promotional tour by canceling it altogether:
"We had planned to have most of the 'Arrested Development' cast in London this week to support the launch of the new season and meet fans. At this time we have decided not to move ahead with promotional activity in the U.K. but hope to bring the cast back at another time."
The company didn't state the exact reason for the change-up, but it's not hard to connect the dots between the response and the likely cause.
In the May 23 article, Jessica Walter, who plays Lucille Bluth, was asked about an on-set altercation with Jeffrey Tambor that the actor referenced in his own interview with THR. In that previous conversation, published May 7, the 73-year-old addressed the allegations that got him fired from Transparent — Tambor acknowledged being difficult, but has repeatedly denied any sexual wrongdoing — and also hinted at a "blowup" at Walter.
He claimed he "profusely apologized" at the time, but added no further information in the THR interview. But when the incident was brought up during the Times conversation, every male member of the cast who was present had a lot to say. Not only Tambor, but Jason Bateman (Michael Bluth), Will Arnett (Gob Bluth), Tony Hale (Buster Bluth), and David Cross (Tobias Funkë) all leaped to their male costar's defense, speaking up not only before Walter, but also over her. The moment pushed the 77-year-old Walter to tears, through which she shared:
"In like almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set. And it’s hard to deal with, but I’m over it now. I just let it go right here, for The New York Times."
Only Alia Shawkat (Maeby Funkë) spoke up in Walter's defense, a fact noted repeatedly on Twitter. Irate social media users were appalled by the audio that exists of the incident, and accused the male cast members of "gaslighting" Walter, forcing her into an apology where none was necessary. Hale, Cross, and Bateman later apologized for their behavior.
Hale and Bateman did so on Twitter, and Cross in a lengthy interview with Gothamist. (As of this writing, Arnett has not yet issued any kind of statement, apologetic or otherwise.)
Hale's apology was succinct, encompassing just one tweet and claiming that he'd reached out to Walter, while Bateman's apology took four tweets and was a bit more wide-ranging.
And for Cross' part, he covered even more ground, with the gist of his apology seemingly coming down to this sentence: "I will unequivocally apologize to Jessica. I'm sorry that we behaved the way we behaved. Whatever the criticisms are, I will own up."
It's gratifying to see the Arrested Development costars examining their behavior and apologizing for the ways they let down not only Walter and Shawkat, but also their fans. But it's also clear that there are much more conversations that will be necessary to have on this topic before everyone reaches a common understanding. One place those conversations won't be taking place, however, is in the U.K. during AD's promotional tour, and it remains to be seen how Netflix will handle this controversy stateside moving forward.