Trace Lysette Is the Second Trans Woman to Accuse Jeffrey Tambor of Sexual Harassment
Trace Lysette is the second woman to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor. Lysette plays Shea, a trans yoga instructor who befriends Maura, the trans woman played by Tambor. The Trace Lysette harassment occurred while the pair were shooting a popular scene from Season 2.
Lysette says that before filming, when 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 crewmembers 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.”
Last week, Tambor’s former assistant Van Barnes accused Tambor of acting “inappropriately” in a private post on Facebook. Both Barnes and Lysette are openly trans.
According to Barnes’ lawyer, Alana Chazan, Barnes cannot comment on Lysette’s allegations. Barnes signed a non-disclosure agreement while working for Tambor.
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.
Lysette and Barnes shared a house when Barnes was working for Tambor. Lysette said:
She would pick him up in the morning and bring him home at night and everything in between. She would come home wrecked and stressed. I saw him break her down. She, for the most part, kept it to herself. She was just like, ‘Girl, he is a piece of work. If you only knew what I’m going through.’ But I knew.
Tambor issued a statement about Lysette’s allegations:
For the past four years, I’ve had the huge privilege — and huge responsibility — of playing Maura Pfefferman, a transgender woman, in a show that I know has had an enormous, positive impact on a community that has been too long dismissed and misunderstood. Now I find myself accused of behavior that any civilized person would condemn unreservedly.
I know I haven’t always been the easiest person to work with. I can be volatile and ill-tempered, and too often I express my opinions harshly and without tact. But I have never been a predator — ever. I am deeply sorry if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being sexually aggressive or if I ever offended or hurt anyone. But the fact is, for all my flaws, I am not a predator and the idea that someone might see me in that way is more distressing than I can express.
Amazon Studios is currently investigating the claims against Tambor. Yesterday, the news came that Tambor is reportedly being written out of season 5.