Jason Bateman 'Embarrassed' by Seeming Defense of Jeffrey Tambor Verbally Harassing Jessica Walter
Jason Bateman publicly responded to backlash over comments he made about his Arrested Development costar Jeffrey Tambor's bad behavior on set
During a candid cast interview with the New York Times, Walter, 77, and Tambor, 73 – who portray married couple George Oscar Bluth, Sr. and Lucille Bluth – discussed the past incident in person as she forgave him in front of costars Bateman, Will Arnett, Alia Shawkat and David Cross.
Although Tambor admitted his shortcomings, Bateman commented that the actor’s behavior is “common” in show business, sparking backlash from fans.
“Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here,” the 49-year-old actor said in a series of tweets on Thursday. “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.”
He continued, “I was so eager to let Jeffrey know that he was supported in his attempt to learn, grow and apologize that I completely underestimated the feelings of the victim, another person I deeply love – and she was sitting right there!”
“I’m incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry to have done that to Jessica,” said Bateman. “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.”
Bateman concluded, “I didn’t say that and instead said a bunch of other stuff and not very well. I deeply, and sincerely, apologize.”
Twitter users praised Walter for standing up for herself while criticizing Bateman’s reaction on Wednesday.
“Jessica Walter received a Golden Globe nomination in 1971, when Jason Bateman was two years old, and he thinks he should explain to her how show business works,” wrote one.
RELATED VIDEO: Jeffrey Tambor ‘Profoundly Disappointed’ by ‘Transparent’ Firing
Another added, “If you’ve ever thought ‘I don’t think mansplaining is a real thing’ peep Jason Bateman explaining to the far more experienced (and talented) actress Jessica Walter how the industry works here.”
“I have to let go of being angry at him,” Walter tearfully told Tambor, who was sitting only a few feet away from her during the interview. “[In] 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.”
Walter added, “I have to let go of being angry at him. 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. I have to give you a chance to, you know, for us to be friends again.”
Bateman also commented on Tambor’s behavior, telling his castmates, “Not 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.’ ”
To which, Shawkat, 29, responded: “But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. And the point is that things are changing, and people need to respect each other differently.”
Though Walter spoke out about Tambor’s verbal harassment for the first time, she revealed the past incident will not prevent her from working with him in the future.
“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,” she said, adding, “Of course, I would work with him again in a heartbeat.”
Tambor first mentioned the “one blowup” with Walter on Arrested Development in an interview earlier this month with The Hollywood Reporter, telling the publication that he has “profusely apologized.”
During the Times interview, Tambor again brought up the apology when asked if he had reckoned with the incident involving Walter.
“I have, and am continuing to do. And I profusely have apologized. Walter is indeed a walking acting lesson,” he said.
“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,” Tambor shared, referencing the allegations of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment on the Amazon set that prompted his exit in February.
“I’m going to put that behind me, and I love acting,” Tambor added to the Times.
Season 5 of Arrested Development premieres on Netflix May 29.