Almost three months after he was fired from Amazon’s Transparent, Jeffrey Tambor has given his first interview regarding the allegations of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment on set that prompted his exit.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Tambor, 73, admitted to having lifelong anger issues but continued to deny the allegations that he sexually harassed his former assistant Van Barnes and Trace Lysette, an actress on the series.
Tambor said Barnes’ claims that he observed her sleeping naked are completely fabricated. According to THR, when asked to address other specific allegations, including the propositioning and physical touching, he grew “reticent.”
“I don’t want to characterize them,” he said. “What I said was that she was a disgruntled assistant. I think that was generous of me. I dispute her account. I did raise my voice at times, I was moody at times, there were times when I was tactless. But as for the other stuff, absolutely not.”
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Acknowledging having the occasional outburst on previous shows — including one “blowup” with actress Jessica Walter on Arrested Development for which he said he later “profusely apologized” — Tambor said something about playing Maura Pfefferman, the transgender lead of the show, brought out the worst in him.
“I drove myself and my castmates crazy,” he said. “Lines got blurred. I was difficult. I was mean. I yelled at [series creator] Jill [Soloway] — she told me recently she was afraid of me. I yelled at the wonderful [executive producer] Bridget Bedard in front of everybody. I made her cry. And I apologized and everything, but still, I yelled at her. The assistant directors. I was rude to my assistant. I was moody. Sometimes I didn’t talk at all.”
“And this is where the reader says, ‘So what?’ ” he continued. “You know? ‘You’re coming in from the Palisades, you drive in, you get a good paycheck, you get to play one of the best roles in the world. So. What.’ … But I was scared, because I was a cisgender male playing Maura Pfefferman. And my whole thing was, ‘Am I doing it right? Am I doing it right? Am I doing it right?’ To the point that I worried myself to death.”
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When speaking about Maura, THR notes that Tambor broke down in tears five times over the course of the interview.
“She was like a friend,” he said. “That may trigger eye rolls, but she was very real to me. And I think in many ways much more awake than I.”
And while Maura is no more, Tambor still has a job on Arrested Development, the Netflix comedy that will premiere its fifth season on the streaming service May 29. Castmate David Cross has publicly supported him amid the allegations.
“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,” Cross, 53, told amNewYork in an interview published in February.