Jason Bateman & Tony Hale apologize to Arrested Development co-star Jessica Walter over insensitive comments
Arrested Development will return on to Netflix onMay 29 for its fifth season, though it returns with an elephant in the room: Jeffrey Tambor, who plays both Bluth Family patriarch George Sr an his twin brother Oscar, is returning here despite having left his Emmy-winning Amazon series Transparent amid accusations of sexual misconduct. (Season 5 was filmed before the allegations broke.) Tambor and most of the main Arrested Development cast -- Jason Bateman, Jessica Walter, Will Arnett, Alia Shawkat, David Cross, and Tony Hale -- all sat down for an interview together with The New York Times where the subject of Tambor's behavior was broached:
Jeffrey, if there’s another season, do you expect to be a part of it?
TAMBOR I surely hope so.
BATEMAN Well, I won’t do it without you. I can tell you that.
TAMBOR Well thank you, that’s very, very, very sweet. I hope so. I love these people, and Netflix has been so supportive and Mitch has been so supportive. I sent out an email to these guys and I just said, “I’m so thankful and sorry for the distraction and you have to be asked these questions and such.” And I went much further into it with The Hollywood Reporter, and I’ve denied the allegations but the upshot is I won’t be playing Maura anymore. I’m going to miss that cast. I love that cast, and the answer is I would love to do “Arrested.” I love these people. I love George Sr. I love Oscar [George Sr.’s twin brother]. I’m such a fan of this.
BATEMAN And there’s no reason he shouldn’t.
Everyone there was supportive of Tambor, even Walter, who was the target of an on-set tirade by Tambor during filming. It was here that the interview turned sour, with Bateman and some of the other male cast members dismissing Tambor's behavior to Walter as just something that happens on the set. From the Times:
Ms. Walter said, fighting through tears, “In like 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.” She also said that Mr. Tambor verbally harassed her.
But Mr. Bateman, several times, described Mr. Tambor’s tendencies on set as normal for the entertainment business and said he wouldn’t do another season of “Arrested Development” without Mr. Tambor.
“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,’” Mr. Bateman said.
Ms. Shawkat, the only female cast member in the room other than Ms. Walter, interjected and said, “But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. And the point is that things are changing, and people need to respect each other differently.”
Mr. Hale, a few minutes later, supported Mr. Bateman’s position: “I will say, to Jason’s point, we can be honest about the fact that — and not to build a thing — we’ve all had moments.”
To which Ms. Walter replied: “Not like that.”
The New York Times also offered up audio from the interview (in which the cast came off worse), and Bateman, Hale and the rest of the male cast were taken to task online for being insensitive to Walter's feelings and general mansplaining. Today, Bateman and Hale apologized. Here's Bateman's (via his Twitter)
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 apologize 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, apologize.
And here's Hale's
David Cross, meanwhile, talked at length with Gothamist today about the NY Times interview.