Jeffrey Tambor has officially been dropped from the fifth season of his lead role in the Amazon series Transparent. Amazon concluded their investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct and decided that the upcoming season will not include Tambor's character.
When Transparent premiered, it featured a groundbreaking performance from Tambor, who plays Mort Pfefferman - a divorced, middle-aged father who transitions into a woman named Maura. The entire plot point of the first season dealt with Maura coming out to her rather selfish family and delivering the big news. Consecutive seasons focused on the family dynamics changing and moving forward after Maura's transition, but that won't be the case anymore.
Deadline is reporting that Amazon has officially decided to remove Tambor from Transparent season 5 after concluding that his actions "could not be justified or excused under scrutiny." Series creator Jill Soloway confirmed the news in a statement, saying:
“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. 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.”
This all started back in November, when transgender actresses Tracy Lysette and Van Barnes came forward with allegations of harassment against Tambor. A couple of weeks later, Tamara Delbridge, a non-trans makeup artist, also came forward with claims that Tambor "forcibly kissed her on set of the 2001 film Never Again." Amazon then went into extensive investigations to verify the allegations and make a decision about Tambor's place in the show.
Tambor came forward with apologies and statements, which ultimately resulted in his decision to leave Transparent in November. He released a statement regarding his on-set behavior, saying, “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. But I have never been a predator – ever.” Once he threatened to leave Transparent, saying, "I don’t see how I can return to Transparent," his representatives started backpedaling the meaning of that statement.
Moving forward, it will certainly be interesting to see just how Amazon plans to deal with the character of Maura. This is eerily similar to Netflix's situation with Kevin Spacey, who was kicked off of House of Cards shortly after allegations against him surfaced. These series have built their narratives around the conflicts of their central characters, and they are now forced to redirect the narrative path, which will more than likely restructure the entire fabric of their stories. But as long as this creates a safer environment for all cast and crew members working on Transparent going forward, then it's certainly the right decision to make.