Jason Bateman 'deeply and sincerely' apologizes for 'mansplaining harassment' in interview
Onscreen, the Bluth family are a strange but loyal bunch of folks, who - despite their differences and feuds - usually end up coming to one another's aid whenever problems arise.
However, in the real world, it transpires that the actors who play the Arrested Development characters aren't quite as close as their fictional roles would have us believe. Much to the contrary, in fact, an article published in the New York Times yesterday disclosed that Jeffrey Tambor (George Snr. on the show) had been verbally abusive to his on-screen wife, Jessica Walter. While talking about the matter, the actress broke down in tears and said that she was trying to move past the various outbursts she'd had to deal with.
"I have to let go of being angry at him," Walter said. "[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."
But what came as more of a surprise to fans who read the article was not Tambor's abuse (after all, he has had other similar allegations aimed at him from other shows he's worked on), but rather Jason Bateman's nonchalant dismissal of how serious the incident was.
Bateman, who plays Michael Bluth on the hit series, was quick to brush aside Walter's account of the time that Tambor violently shouted at her, saying: "Not to belittle it or excuse it or anything, but in the entertainment industry it is incredibly common to have people who are 'difficult.'"
However, Bateman's seemingly uncaring dismissal attracted a lot of flack online, with many fans of the show turning on him as an enabler of abuse.
People were especially critical of the way that Bateman appeared to "mansplain" something to a woman who had been winning awards in her field since before he was even born, and were disappointed that he would side with a colleague because of their gender, rather than their moral behavior.
Now, however, he has come forward with a lengthy apology, in which he admits that he was fully in the wrong for what he said.
"Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here," he began. "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."
"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 [during the interview]!
"I’m incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry to have done that to Jessica. 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.
While many have accepted his apology, others are not convinced.
In a reply to his apology tweet, one Twitter user said: "You literally said you wouldn't do the show if the guy who got kicked off of one show for sexual and verbal harassment, and was openly known to verbally harass your co-star, wasn't there. You went to bat for Tambor, and over and over dismissed Walter. You. Do. Not. Get. It."
Meanwhile, another added: "If I, on my job, did what Tambor is alleged to have done on his job, I would be fired immediately, and my colleagues would ostracize me for abusive, hurtful behavior. You should be scared to death that you are unable to see that, the rest of the world knows that behavior is wrong."
Yet again, then, the toxicity of Hollywood culture has been exposed. But this time, at least, someone took accountability for their actions, and that's the first step towards ending such harmful and unfair practices.