After two allegations of sexual harassment were made against Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor, the actor announced he has decided not to return to the Amazon series next season.
“Playing Maura Pfefferman on Transparent has been one of the greatest privileges and creative experiences of my life,” the actor told Deadline on Sunday. “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,” Tambor asserted as well. “Given the politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don’t see how I can return to Transparent.”
Yesterday, creator and EP Jill Soloway said she would not discuss the recent accusations against Tambor while speaking on a panel at Vulture Fest LA.
“We have our own complications on Transparent,” she said. “And because there is an investigation that we are amidst I am not able to say anything at all about it. I’m trying to just protect the process and make sure that we do the most, have a process with the most integrity to make sure that everybody, that turns out fair, so I’ve been asked not to speak at all about it.”
Tambor’s former assistant Van Barnes accused Tambor of acting “inappropriately” in a private post on Facebook. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Barnes’ Facebook post alleges an unnamed employer — assumed to be Tambor — made comments like she should sleep with him to get promoted. The employer also patted her on the rear and played pornography at high volume.
A few days later, Transparent guest star Trace Lysette came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Tambor as well.
Lysette says that before filming, when Jeffrey Tambor saw her costume for the scene, a lingerie top and short shorts, he said, “My God, Trace. I want to attack you sexually.” Lysette says that she and Alexandra Billings, the other actor in the scene, “laughed it off because it was so absurd.”
A few minutes later, waiting for a camera setup, she says Tambor approached her. “He came in close, put his bare feet on top of mine so I could not move, leaned his body against me, and began quick, discreet thrust back and forth against my body. I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas.”
She says she pushed him away. Billings wasn’t present for this incident. Lysette says that though a number of crew members were nearby, “They were focused on their jobs. It was discreet. If you were behind Jeffrey you might have thought he was giving me a hug.”
No word yet on whether Transparent will write Tambor’s character out of the show or replace him another actor or actress.