Jason Bateman Apologizes for "Mansplaining" After Defending a Co-Star Accused of Harassment
With the season 5 revival of Arrested Development premiering on Netflix next week, the allegations against series regular Jeffrey Tambor are being brought to the public eye once again—but this time, the conversation is on a different topic: rage.
After claims of sexual misconduct were leveled against the actor last year, Tambor was fired from his starring role on Amazon series Transparent.
The cast of Development showed support for the Golden Globe-winning actor following the Hollywood verdict, maintaining that there were no complaints of a sexual nature issued on their set. However, Tambor’s on-screen wife Jessica Walter had a concern of a different nature.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in early May, Tambor referenced an on-set “blowup” with Walter, noting that he later “profusely apologized” for the gaffe. Weeks later, Jessica is opening up about the incident, tearfully discussing the encounter in an interview with The New York Times.
“Let me just say one thing that I just realized in this conversation,” the actress began. “I have to let go of being angry at [Tambor]. 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.”
“But it’s hard,” she continued. “In like almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set.”
The interview, which was conducted alongside several members of the revival’s cast (including Jason Bateman, Tambor, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, Will Arnett, and David Cross), allowed the ensemble to interject, resulting in a strong defense of Tambor and his actions from the male actors, and Bateman specifically.
The Ozark star insinuated that “[lashing] out” on set wasn’t uncommon during production, noting that it’s something “we’ve all done.”
Walter was quick to counter Bateman’s claim, telling him, “You’ve never yelled at me like that.”
Bateman nonetheless continued to defend Tambor and his actions on set to The Times, explaining, “I know nothing about Transparent but I do know a lot about Arrested Development. And I can say that no matter what anybody in this room has ever done—and we’ve all done a lot, with each other, for each other, against each other—I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I have zero complaints.”
Cross came to Tambor’s defense as well: “You know, one thing that Jeffrey has said a number of times that I think is important, that you don’t often hear from somebody in his position, is that he learned from the experience and he’s listening and learning and growing. That’s important to remember.”
Tambor, too, defended his own actions, explaining that he’s “reckoned with” his behavior. “I have profusely 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.”
Shawkat shrewdly responded to her co-star, telling Bateman, “But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. And the point is that things are changing, and people need to respect each other differently.”
After some more back-and-forth between Walter and Bateman, the actress finally discussed whether she’d have any reservations about working with Tambor again.
“Of course not,” she said. “I’ve just given it up. And you know, there’s something really, really freeing about that now. I realize that. 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.”
After the interview went live on Wednesday, fans took to Twitter to air their discontent with the cast’s defense of Tambor’s behavior, particularly Bateman.
Buoyed by the critical outpour, Bateman apologized for his statements via Twitter, clarifying that he wasn’t condoning Jeffery’s actions or belittling Jessica’s experience.
Oy, season 5 hasn’t even aired and the show is already tangled in controversy. A word to the cast: In case things get more complicated, remember, THERE’S ALWAYS MONEY IN THE BANANA STAND.