Jeffrey Tambor returned to the red carpet on Thursday for the first time since he was fired from Transparent after sexual harassment allegations — and the cast of Arrested Development, his other show, welcomed him warmly.
It was the Arrested Development Season 5 premiere that brought out Tambor, 73 — and his castmates for the last 15 years had his back. Jason Bateman, his TV son, went in for a hug on the carpet in front of the photo pool. The newly retired Portia de Rossi, his onscreen daughter, held his hand as the group posed for photos. Tony Hale, who plays the neurotic Buster, rested a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
Tambor, who was accompanied by his wife, Kasia Ostlun, told Entertainment Tonight, “It feels great” to be back, adding, “I’m excited to be here.”
It wasn’t a huge surprise that Tambor was there. Netflix confirmed earlier this month that the vet would be included in Season 5 of the show, despite losing his job on Amazon’s Transparent amid sexual harassment allegations made by the actress Trace Lysette as well as his former assistant, Van Barnes. (Tambor repeatedly denied the claims of the transgender women, but was fired after a three-month investigation.) There was speculation, however, whether Tambor would attend, since he had dropped out of the spotlight, save for a few fiery statements defending himself, since this all happened in November.
On Thursday, Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz also spoke out about his decision not to cut Tambor from the show, which had already been shot when Tambor was accused. He told Entertainment Weekly that they’ve worked together for 20 years, and that while Tambor can be “difficult” and “a grump,” he “has never evinced that kind of behavior.” Further, there have never been any sexual misconduct complaints about Tambor from the Arrested cast and crew or from Netflix and 20th Century Fox Television. So while Hurwitz emphatically told EW that “we all stand with victims of sexual abuse,” he said that given the information that he had, he decided not to remove Tambor from the already completed season.
“We were done shooting — there was no version of cutting him out of the show, or there would be no show,” Hurwitz said, adding, “Am I going to cut Jeffrey out of the show, based on allegations that he disputes, that Amazon hasn’t shared, and that we have never experienced any complaints about? No, of course I am not going to. I’m going to support Jeffrey.”
The magazine noted that Bateman, Will Arnett, and Hale expressed similar sentiments. Jessica Walter, who plays Tambor’s wife on the show, also said she never saw anything that “crossed the line” regarding sexual harassment, but added that she was “privately processing” her feelings about an outburst he had on set while shooting the new season. (In May, Tambor admitted to the Hollywood Reporter that he is “difficult” to work with. On Transparent, he said, “I yelled at the wonderful [executive producer] 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.”)
So Tambor is back, but will the audience embrace him? Bateman, who has been around forever, starting as a child star, told EW it’s out of their hands. “The life that the product lives after your participation is often something you have nothing to do with,” he said. “You can just do your part, and now you hand it over to the audience. It’s up to them what they want to do with it, how they want to think about it, how critics want to review it, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You just watch it go out into the world.”
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