Another woman who worked on Transparent has made allegations against star Jeffrey Tambor, claiming the actor became inappropriately physical and made sexual comments while they worked together on the Amazon show.
Trace Lysette, who played a yoga teacher and stripper named Shea on the Emmy-winning show, alleged in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter that Tambor once said he wanted to “attack [her] sexually” after she emerged from wardrobe wearing a lingerie top and short-shorts. He also allegedly rubbed up against Lysette, who said she could feel “his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas.”
“I laughed it off and rolled my eyes,” Lysette said in the statement. “I had a job to do and I had to do it with Jeffrey, the lead of our show. When they called action, I put that moment in the corner into its own corner of my mind. Compartmentalizing has always been part of my survival took kit, long before I came to Hollywood. It’s sh–ty to admit out loud — and I don’t say it to justify what I went through — but given the journey and circumstances of my life, I was used to being treated as a sexual object by men — this one just happened to be famous.”
“Despite multiple uncomfortable experiences with Jeffrey, it has been an incredible, career-solidifying honor to bring life to my character Shea on Amazon’s Transparent,” continued Lysette, who is transgender. “Working on the award-winning series as a low-income trans woman with active roots in New York’s ball culture is a rare opportunity most of my sisters are not given.”
In a statement to EW, Tambor said, “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. 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. 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.”
An Amazon spokesperson told Deadline — which first reported Lysette’s allegations — that the allegations will be added to the ongoing investigation into Tambor.
Last week, Amazon began looking into Tambor’s behavior after sexual harassment claims were made against him by a past employee, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to EW. The actor gave a statement to Deadline that said a “former disgruntled assistant” claims he “acted in an improper manner toward her.” The assistant made the claims in a private Facebook post.
In a statement to EW, Transparent creator Jill Soloway said, “Anything that would diminish the level of respect, safety, and inclusion so fundamental to our workplace is completely antithetical to our principles. We are cooperating with the investigation into this matter.”
On Friday, GLAAD released the following statement in support of Lysette and urging Amazon to shift the focus of Transparent: “Trace Lysette is a gifted actress and a trailblazer for the inclusion of transgender women in Hollywood. For too long transgender women have been forced to hide stories of harassment and abuse in the workplace, and Trace has taken a powerful stand in calling for an industry where all women can work in safe environments. The show Transparent is bigger than one person and is home to some of the most talented trans people in Hollywood – both in front of the camera and behind. GLAAD stands with Trace in her hope that the inappropriate situations she and others endured on set will be remedied, and that future seasons will focus on more of the many brilliant characters that audiences love and care about.”
Tambor has won two Emmys for headlining the Amazon comedy. The show’s fifth season is not yet in production.