Entertainment

Thursday 20 September 2018

Jessica Walter in tears as she recalls Jeffrey Tambor verbal harassment

She was interviewed alongside Tambor ahead of the new series of Arrested Development.

Actress Jessica Walter (Specker Francis/PA)
Actress Jessica Walter (Specker Francis/PA)

By Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

Arrested Development star Jessica Walter broke down in tears as she recalled being verbally harassed by her co-star Jeffrey Tambor.

The US actress, 77, was joined by her on-screen husband Tambor at a cast interview for the revived show which also stars Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, David Cross and Alia Shawkat.

Referencing the incident, Walter said she had “never had anybody yell at me like that” across six decades of working while Bateman and Cross attempted to explain Tambor’s actions.

ipanews_d0f86c26-eaa2-4fbe-bff5-0ea8ff9bbaf9_embedded22091666
56th Annual Emmy Awards 2004

It first came to light when Tambor referenced a “blow up” with Walter in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter – the first since he was accused of sexual harassment and dropped from TV show Transparent.

He has denied allegations of sexual misconduct but admitted that he was difficult to work with.

As her co-stars sat feet away, Walter told the New York Times: “Let me just say one thing that I just realised in this conversation. I have to let go of being angry at him.

“He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever. Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologise. I have to let it go.”

Bateman said there was “context” to the incident, adding the industry is “a weird thing, and it is a breeding ground for atypical behaviour and certain people have certain processes”.

Shawkat told her co-star: “But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. And the point is that things are changing, and people need to respect each other differently.”

Bateman added: “What we do for a living is not normal, and therefore the process is not normal sometimes, and to expect it to be normal is to not understand what happens on set.

“Again, not to excuse it, Alia, but to be surprised by people having a wobbly route to their goal, their process — it’s very rarely predictable.”

Cross added there is a “cumulative effect sometimes”.

Portia de Rossi and Michael Cera also star in the hit show but were not present for the New York Times interview.

Asked if she had reservations about working with Tambor again, Walter said: “Of course not. No. I’ve just given it up.

“And you know, there’s something really, really freeing about that now. I realise that. I don’t want to walk around with anger.

“I respect him as an actor. We’ve known each other for years and years and years. No, no, no, no. Of course, I would work with him again in a heartbeat.”

ipanews_d0f86c26-eaa2-4fbe-bff5-0ea8ff9bbaf9_embedded235011480
Jeffrey Tambo comment

Tambor has been backed by Netflix chief Ted Sarandos and the creator of Arrested Development, Mitchell Hurwitz, who last week said accusations are “very different than proof”.

“I’ve worked with him for 20 years and I’ve never seen any behaviour like that described,” Hurwitz told the Associated Press.

Sarandos has previously said: “In making and promoting seasons four and five of Arrested Development, Jeffrey has always been totally professional.”

Tambor, who played transgender woman Maura Pfefferman in Transparent, was dropped from the Amazon Prime show after a co-star and a former assistant accused him of misconduct.

Actress Trace Lysette, who plays yoga instructor Shea in the show, said he made sexual remarks during filming and at one point thrust himself against her.

Assistant Van Barnes accused him of offensive talk and of touching her inappropriately.

Tambor previously criticised Amazon’s investigation into the allegations against him as “deeply flawed”.

Press Association

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment

Back to top