Jason Bateman tweets apology after defending Jeffrey Tambor's harassment of Jessica Walter
Actor Jason Bateman has publicly apologised on Twitter after defending his Arrested Development co-star, Jeffery Tambor, for using verbally abusive language towards Jessica Walter. Bateman appeared to defend Tambor during a New York Times interview about the upcoming fifth season of the hit Netflix sitcom, stating: "Not to belittle it or excuse it or anything – but in the entertainment industry it is incredibly common to have people who are, in quotes, ‘difficult.’" After facing vocal criticism on social media, a contrite Bateman appeared to retract his prior statement.
In a statement, he tweeted: "Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here. 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 apologise that I completely underestimated the feelings of the victim, another person I deeply love - and she was sitting right there!"
"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. Period. I didn’t say that and instead said a bunch of other stuff and not very well. I deeply, and sincerely, apologise."
In the New York Times interview, Walter admitted that Tambor had often been verbally abusive towards her, and that she had been very upset numerous times on the set of Arrested Development. Tearfully, she stated: "Jason says this happens all the time. In, like, almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set."
The cast was discussing sexual harassment allegations made against Tambor by co-star Trace Lysette, during the filming of Amazon series Transparent. Tambor was eventually fired from the show. Upon quitting the series, he stated: "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."