Jessica Walter has opened up about how her Arrested Development co-star Jeffrey Tambor verbally harassed her on set. This news comes off the heels of sexual misconduct allegations made against Tambor.
The comedy series Arrested Development debuted on FOX in 2003 with an ensemble cast that includes Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Portia de Rossi as three down-on-their-luck siblings, and Jessica Walter and Jeffrey Tambor as their crooked parents, whose formerly wealthy family falls onto hard times. After being canceled after three seasons, the show was eventually picked up by Netflix for a full-on revival, and their comedic misfortunes are currently entering a fifth season this summer at the end of May. However, just days before the May 29 premiere, Walter has accused her on-screen husband of verbally harassing her during production.
The entire cast of Arrested Development recently sat down with The New York Times to discuss the upcoming season, which ultimately led to a far more serious discussion of sexual misconduct allegations made against Tambor, Tambor leaving the Amazon series Transparent amid said allegations, and the fact that he had verbally abused Walter during the filming of Arrested Development. After the cast conveyed support for Tambor regarding the allegations, Walter opened up about her personal relationship with the actor. She tearfully explained that during her time on the show, she had never before dealt with someone as verbally aggressive as Tambor in the nearly 60 years she had worked as an actress. And though some cast members showed support for Walter (Shawkat explained that Tambor's behavior was unacceptable), Bateman explained that the entertainment industry is "a breeding ground for atypical behavior and certain people have certain processes," though he prefaced that by saying he had no intention of belittling or excusing the victims or abusers, respectively.
Despite the abuse, Walter directly forgave Tambor during the interview, explaining that she is "over it now." That said, the overall reaction to the interview was not especially positive, specifically regarding Bateman's statements. This led to the actor making a public apology to Walter on Twitter, stating that he is "embarrassed and deeply sorry" for his insensitivity, adding that he "shouldn't have tried so hard to mansplain."
Following the outpour of sexual misconduct allegations in the entertainment industry within the past year, the zero-tolerance policy has led to the removal of various actors from the shows or movies in which they were starring (most notably with Kevin Spacey in both Netflix's House of Cards and Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World, and Tambor in Transparent). However, the decision to keep Tambor involved with Arrested Development posits the idea that the zero-tolerance policy may not be as entirely universal within the industry as everyone might have expected. And whether or not Tambor's inclusion on the show affects ratings remains to be seen.