Netflix’s Arrested Development star Jason Bateman says he is “incredibly sorry” amid a growing backlash over comments he made appearing to defend co-star Jeffrey Tambor over his harsh on set treatment of actress Jessica Walter.
During an interview with The New York Times, Walter claimed that Tambor “verbally harassed” her, but “never crossed the line” into sexual impropriety. However, Tambor still faces claims that he sexually harassed two transgender actors while working on the hit Amazon series Transparent.
“He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever,” Walter said. “Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. I have to let it go. And I have to give you a chance to, you know, for us to be friends again.”
“Again, 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,'” Bateman said of the claims. “And what you learn is context. And you learn about character and you learn about work habits, work ethics, and you start to understand.”
“It’s a weird thing, and it is a breeding ground for atypical behavior and certain people have certain processes,” he added.
Leaked video of a purported conversation between Arrested Development cast members appears to show Bateman explaining to Walter that Tambor has a history of on set outbursts. The audio went viral online.
Here’s audio of Jessica Walter CRYING, standing up for herself after all the men in the AD cast try to gaslight her into thinking Tambor’s harassment isn’t THAT bad. This is horrific. pic.twitter.com/innJv8LIYF
— Kevin T. Porter (@KevinTPorter) May 23, 2018
Yet amid growing anger over the claims, Bateman backtracked on his comments in a series of tweets on Thursday morning.
“Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here,” he wrote. “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.
Arrested Development will return for its fifth season on May 29.
Despite resigning from his role in the Amazon show Transparent, Tambor remains a prominent cast member for the Netflix’s Emmy-award winning series.