In the wake of sexual misconduct allegations, Jeffrey Tambor (“Arrested Development”) has left Amazon’s “Transparent.” The actor, who won a Golden Globe and two Primetime Emmys for his role on the series, gave a statement to Deadline about his departure:
Playing Maura Pfefferman on Transparent has been one of the greatest privileges and creative experiences of my life. What has become clear over the past weeks, however, is that this is no longer the job I signed up for four years ago. 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.
The move is sudden but ultimately unsurprising, as it seemed Tambor would soon be written out of the show. Troubles for the actor began after former assistant Van Barnes accused him of sexual harassment and assault during her time working for him. Two days later, frequent “Transparent” guest star Trace Lysette also came forward, alleging Tambor made rude sexual comments to her and at one point “got physical” with her. Tambor vehemently denied the allegations, saying he had “flaws” but would never sexually harass his fellow cast or crew.
Rumors began swirling this week after the allegations, with Hollywood insiders telling Variety that “there’s momentum…to continue [“Transparent”] with Jeffrey Tambor.” Lysette herself suggested that Tambor be removed and to “let the show go on.” Show writer Our Lady J (“POSE”) was the only member of the series to come out in support of Barnes and Lysette (see Lysette’s original allegation and Our Lady J’s response above). The writer thanked Lysette for her “leadership” in coming forward and agreed with her suggestion to remove Tambor, saying “we cannot let trans content be taken down by a single cis man.” His removal was technically possible, as Tambor’s option had not been picked up for the show’s fifth season, but the actor decided to leave before being shown the door.
Showrunner Jill Soloway (“Six Feet Under”) refused to comment on the allegations at a Vulture Fest LA panel on Saturday, citing the on-going investigation Amazon opened on the situation. The producer did say she would support new rules to prevent sexual harassment on sets in the future.
“Transparent” has often been hailed for its thoughtful representation of trans experiences, and is one of the first TV series to focus specifically on a trans lead character and their transition. Tambor starred as Pfefferman, a parent and closeted trans woman who decided to come out late in life. Gaby Hoffmann (“Wild”), Jay Duplass (“Cyrus”), Amy Landecker (“Beatriz at Dinner”) and Judith Light (“Ugly Betty”) costarred alongside Tambor. The show’s fourth season launched Sept. 21 on Amazon Prime.
Tambor is repped by the Gersh Agency and the Burnstein Company.