Transparent will continue without Jeffrey Tambor, following allegations of sexual harassment on the set of the show.
Amazon’s first breakout hit, the series has won multiple awards for its sensitive and progressive telling of the story of Maura Pfefferman (Tambor) and her family’s grappling with their own identities, sexuality and relationships. The show, however, became mired in scandal last year, when Tambor was accused of misconduct.
Now, after an investigation into the allegations has concluded, Amazon has confirmed to Deadline that Tambor will not return to the programme, although no results of the investigation have been published.
“I have great respect and admiration for Van Barnes and Trace Lysette, whose courage in speaking out about their experience on Transparent is an example of the leadership this moment in our culture requires,” showrunner Jill Soloway said in a statement. “We are grateful to the many trans people who have supported our vision for Transparent since its inception and remain heartbroken about the pain and mistrust their experience has generated in our community. We are taking definitive action to ensure our workplace respects the safety and dignity of every individual, and are taking steps to heal as a family.”
Tambor said last year: “I don’t see how I can return to Transparent”, referring to the “politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set”.
He then issued a statement last night: “I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations against me. I am even more disappointed in Jill Soloway’s unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow cast mates.
“In our four-year history of working together on this incredible show, these accusations have NEVER been revealed or discussed directly with me or anyone at Amazon. Therefore, I can only surmise that the investigation against me was deeply flawed and biased toward the toxic politicized atmosphere that afflicted our set. As I have consistently stated, I deeply regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone and I will continue to vehemently defend myself. I also deeply regret that this ground-breaking show, which changed so many lives, is now in jeopardy. That, to me, is the biggest heartbreak.”
His other cast members, including Gaby Hoffman, Jay Duplass, Judith Light and Amy Landecker, have all been renewed for the fifth season, with Maura set not to appear. The shift is a dramatic one for the show, but it arrives as Transparent has evolved increasingly into an ensemble series, rather than a Maura-centric tale, with Gaby Hoffman’s Ali becoming a natural new centre for the show’s boundary-breaking exploration of gender and identity.
Jeffrey Tambor exits Amazon’s Transparent
20th November 2017
Jeffrey Tambor will not return to Amazon’s Transparent, following two accusations of sexual harassment.
The actor was accused by Trace Lysette of making unwelcome lewd remarks to her while they working together, as well getting physical on one occasion. She called for Amazon to “remove the problem and let the show go on.”
Her allegations followed similar accusations of him behaving in an inappropriate manner by transgender actress Van Barnes, who was Tambor’s former assistant.
Showrunner Jill Soloway has declined to comment on the accusations due to an ongoing investigation by the show into the alleged incidents. We reported yesterday, though, that the series’ producers were considering continuing the show without Tambor. Now, the actor appears to have made that decision for them. Speaking to Deadline, he issued the following statement:
“Playing Maura Pfefferman on Transparent has been one of the greatest privileges and creative experiences of my life. What has become clear over the past weeks, however, is that this is no longer the job I signed up for four years ago. I’ve already made clear my deep regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being aggressive, but the idea that I would deliberately harass anyone is simply and utterly untrue. Given the politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don’t see how I can return to Transparent.”
A fifth season of the show has already been commissioned.
Transparent’s producers looking at future without Jeffrey Tambor
19th November 2017
The producers of Transparent are looking at continuing the series without Jeffrey Tambor, following another allegation of sexual harassment against the actor.
The star, who has won a Golden Globe for his lead role of Maura in the show, was accused of behaving in a sexually inappropriate manner by transgender actress Van Barnes, who was a consultant on the show before becoming Tambor’s assistant.
Tambor “adamantly and vehemently” denied the allegation, saying that Barnes was a “former disgruntled assistant”.
Now, Trace Lysette, who was a guest star on the show, has also accused Tambor of sexually charged remarks and one incident of inappropriate behaviour.
Lysette told The Hollywood Reporter this week that Tambor, during the filming of a scene in which she was wearing a lingerie top and matching short-shorts, told her: “My God, Trace. I want to attack you sexually.” Alexandra Billings, also present, heard the remark and Lysette told THR they both “laughed it off because it was so absurd”.
Then, she alleged he approached her between takes.
“He came in close, put his bare feet on top of mine so I could not move, leaned his body against me, and began quick, discreet thrust back and forth against my body. I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas,” Lysette said, adding she pushed him away and rolled her eyes.
“It was discreet. If you were behind Jeffrey you might have thought he was giving me a hug,” she added.
Tambor has denied the allegations, and apologised.
“I know I haven’t always been the easiest person to work with. I can be volatile and ill-tempered, and too often I express my opinions harshly and without tact,” he said in a statement. “But I have never been a predator – ever. I am deeply sorry if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being sexually aggressive or if I ever offended or hurt anyone.”
Amazon has said the new allegation will be added to its ongoing internal investigation. Meanwhile, the show’s writers, led by Jill Soloway, are looking at ways to continue the programme without Tambor’s involvement.
Lysette has called on Amazon to “re-center the other trans characters in this show with the family members”, while one source has also told Variety that she is not looking to derail the show.
“Trace in speaking her truth also wanted to make sure that Transparent continued, but without the toxic element that is Jeffrey Tambor,” the source commented.
“There’s momentum on the inside to continue without Jeffrey Tambor,” another source revealed to Variety, just as Season 5 is being plotted out ahead of its production and release next year.
There is strong support for the show’s continuation, partly because of its showcasing of transgender stories, which often go untold in the media, and the way that Soloway has committed to hiring trans actors and crew to make the series.
Amazon and Soloway have not commented on the latest, but the showrunner issued this statement in response to the initial allegation: “Anything that would diminish the level of respect, safety and inclusion so fundamental to our workplace is completely antithetical to our principles. We are cooperating with the investigation into this matter.”
Amazon investigating Jeffrey Tambor misconduct accusation
9th November 2017
Amazon is investigating an accusation of sexual harassment against Jeffrey Tambor.
Transgender actress Van Barnes, who was once the assistant to the Transparent star, has alleged that Tambor behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner. Deadline first reported the news, with THR confirming with Amazon Entertainment VP of Global Communications, Craig Berman, that an investigation is in its “very early” stages.
Jill Soloway added in a statement: “Anything that would diminish the level of respect, safety and inclusion so fundamental to our workplace is completely antithetical to our principles. We are cooperating with the investigation into this matter.”
Van Barnes first met Soloway in 2013 at a Los Angeles party, reports THR, then becoming a consultant on the series. Barnes was the inspiration for Devina in Transparent’s first season, also becoming Tambor’s assistant. Barnes posted the allegations on a private Facebook account, telling THR “no comment” in response to what the claims entail.
Barnes’ lawyer, Alana Chazan, said: “Chazan Family Law P.C. is representing Van Barnes in an ongoing investigation at Amazon. My client currently has no comment, however, Ms. Barnes stands by the statement she made on her private social media account as part of the #metoo movement.”
Tambor has responded, saying he is “aware that a former disgruntled assistant of mine has made a private post implying that I had acted in an improper manner toward her”
“I adamantly and vehemently reject and deny any and all implication and allegation that I have ever engaged in any improper behavior toward this person or any other person I have ever worked with,” he said. “I am appalled and distressed by this baseless allegation.”
The allegation follows the departure of Amazon Studios chief Roy Price over accusations of sexual harassment towards The Man in the High Castle executive producer Isa Hackett Dick.