Amazon may have cut ties with Jeffrey Tambor, but Netflix has not.
The Emmy-winning Transparent star was fired in February following a three-month investigation into allegations that he had sexually harassed a Transparent guest star and a former assistant, leading to questions about his role in the upcoming season of Arrested Development. But on Friday, Netflix finally shed light on the matter: a spokesperson for the streaming service confirmed that Tambor, who plays Bluth patriarch George, Sr., will indeed appear in season 5 of the cult-favorite dysfunctional family comedy, which wrapped production on its new batch of episodes in November, right around when the accusations surfaced.
A few of Tambor’s Arrested castmates have issued support for the actor in recent months. “I can’t speak for everybody, but I know there are a number of us who stand behind him—from the limited amount we know, we stand behind Jeffrey—and I am one of them,” David Cross said in Feburary, while Jason Bateman noted, “I love Jeffrey. I always will. I can’t go further than that, but I will always love that man.” Alia Shawkat sounded more measured last month when addressing the topic, using words like “strange” and “sad” to describe the situation. “It’s not about sharing my personal opinion of him,” she said. “What those victims said needs to be heard just as much.”
Netflix has not yet announced a return date for Arrested Development, which aired for three seasons on Fox from 2003 to 2006 before being revived in 2013 for a 15-episode fourth season on Netflix. Series creator Mitch Hurwitz issued an open letter to fans earlier this week in which he announced that a new chronological version of season 4 would be released on Friday, and he also teased that season 5 would be arriving on the streaming service “very soon.” Tambor’s status was not addressed in the letter.
Tambor denied the allegations in a statement when they surfaced in November. “I have never been a predator—ever,” he said. “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.” In another statement issued after the termination, he noted that he was “profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations,” adding, “I am even more disappointed in [Transparent creator] Jill Soloway’s unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow cast mates.”
In the wake of allegations of sexual assault and harassment against House of Cards star Kevin Spacey in November, the streaming service acted swiftly, halting production on the show’s final season and then having him written off the show. The sixth season will now refocus on Robin Wright’s character.