Arrested Development stars Jason Bateman and Tony Hale have issued apologies following a backlash sparked by their cast interview with The New York Times. Both men came under fire for seemingly defending co-star Jeffrey Tambor’s hostile behavior on set in front of a teary-eyed Jessica Walter.
“Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here,” Bateman wrote in a series of tweets published early Thursday morning. “I sound like I’m condoning yelling at work. I do not. It sounds like I’m excusing Jeffery. I do not. It sounds like I’m insensitive to Jessica. I am not. In fact, I’m horrified that I wasn’t more aware of how this incident affected her.”
Hale then tweeted that he “reached out to Jessica personally to apologize.”
Times reporter Sopan Deb, who conducted the interview in question, had published an audio clip in which Walter can be heard addressing Tambor’s infamous tirade during production of Arrested Development season 5. Bateman had 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 ‘difficult.'” Alia Shawkat responded with, “That doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.”
Walter, who began tearing up, made it clear, “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.” Tambor, she said, had also apologized to her.
Bateman then reiterated, “What we do for a living is not normal, and therefore the process is not normal sometimes, and to expect it to be normal is to not understand what happens on set. Again, not to excuse it, Alia, but to be surprised by people having a wobbly route to their goal, their process — it’s very rarely predictable.”
Hale, meanwhile, had stated, “We’ve all had moments… we’ve worked together 15 years, there has been other points of anger coming out.”
“I’m incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry to have done that to Jessica,” Bateman’s apology continued. “This is a big learning moment for me. 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.”
He concluded, “I didn’t say that and instead said a bunch of other stuff and not very well. I deeply, and sincerely, apologize.”
“Arrested Development is one of my families,” Hale wrote.” Regardless of my intentions, it is clear that my words, both said and unsaid, served to minimize Jessica’s pain and for that I am extremely sorry.”
The return of Arrested Development for season 5 has also been plagued by sexual misconduct claims against Tambor from Transparent guest star Trace Lysette and former assistant Van Barnes. Tambor, while admitting to being “difficult” and “moody” at times on set, has denied the allegations. He was still subsequently fired from Transparent.
Walter told EW recently that she has been “privately processing my feelings about the way I was treated by him,” in reference to his lashing out on Arrested Development. She clarified 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 said. “It’s a very difficult situation for everyone involved.”
This article has been updated with Tony Hale’s apology to Walter.