Arrested Development's Jessica Walter says she wants to forgive Jeffrey Tambor for verbal harassment
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The Arrested Development cast reunited again for a New York Times interviewto promote the upcoming season, and when the subject turned to Jeffrey Tambor, things got emotional, difficult, and personal. Especially for Jessica Walter.
Tambor was fired from Transparent earlier this year in the wake of his ex-assistant and a Transparent cast member accusing him of sexual harassment. The actor denied those allegations back in November when they first surfaced, though he admitted that he can be “volatile and ill-tempered.” And in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Tambor also shared that he had lashed out at Arrested costar Jessica Walter.
Walter, who plays his onscreen wife, told EW recently that she was still “privately processing my feelings about the way I was treated by him,” referring to his tirade that occurred during the filming of season 5. She did note that she “never saw anything from him that crossed the line” in terms of sexual harassment. “I have great empathy for the courage of people who feel they have been harassed in any form speaking out — and sympathy for people who have been unjustly accused,” she concluded. “It’s a very difficult situation for everyone involved.”
In this latest interview, Walter opened up about his verbal attack and its impact on her. When Jason Bateman — who, in his attempts to support Tambor seemed to be making excuses for his behavior — said, “[N]ot to belittle it or excuse it or anything, but in the entertainment industry it is incredibly common to have people who are, in quotes, ‘difficult,’ his costar Alia Shawkat responded, “That doesn’t mean it’s acceptable… [T]he point is that things are changing, and people need to respect each other differently.” Soon after, Walter said, “Jason says this happens all the time. 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.”
She sounded like she wanted to forgive Tambor for his behavior. “I have to let go of being angry at him,” Walter said, through tears. “He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever. Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. I have to let it go.” Turning to Tambor, she said, “And I have to give you a chance to, you know, for us to be friends again.”
“Absolutely,” responded Tambor, who thanked his cast members for their support. (He previously had sent them an email apologizing for the “distraction.”) “I profusely have apologized,” he said. “Ms. Walter is indeed a walking acting lesson. And on Transparent, you know, I had a temper and I yelled at people and I hurt people’s feelings. And that’s unconscionable, and I’m working on it and I’m going to put that behind me, and I love acting.”
Asked if she had any reservations about working with Tambor in the future, Walter replied, “I don’t want to walk around with anger. I respect him as an actor. We’ve known each other for years and years and years. No, no, no, no. Of course, I would work with him again in a heartbeat.”
RELATED VIDEO: Jeffrey Tambor Accused of Sexual Harassment by Transparent Guest Star
Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz had previously issued his support for Tambor, explaining to EW that while the actor can be “difficult” and a “grump,” he had never witnessed any sexual misconduct by him, nor had he received any complaints of that nature from either cast or crew.
Arrested Development‘s fifth season launches May 29 on Netflix.
UPDATE: Bateman has issued an apology, explaining on Twitter, “I shouldn’t have tried so hard to mansplain, or fix a fight, or make everything okay. I should’ve focused more on what the most important……part of it all is – there’s never any excuse for abuse, in any form, from any gender. And, the victim’s voice needs to be heard and respected. Period.”