After two allegations of sexual harassment, “Transparent” actor Jeffrey Tambor announced Sunday that he won’t return to Amazon’s award-winning drama. Tambor denied the accusations, which became public this month.
“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,” Tambor said in a statement. “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.’”
On Friday, “Transparent” actress Trace Lysette told the Hollywood Reporter that Tambor, 73, made inappropriate physical contact and said he wanted “to attack” her “sexually” while they filmed a scene together in the second season. Earlier this month, THR reported that Amazon was investigating claims that the actor “behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner toward his assistant,” Van Barnes, who made the allegations in a private Facebook post.
Tambor has won two Emmy awards for his work on the groundbreaking series, renewed in August for a fifth season. He played a transgender woman who comes out late in life. An Amazon spokesperson declined to respond to Tambor’s statement about leaving the show. (Disclosure: Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
On Saturday at the Vulture Festival in Los Angeles, “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway did not comment on the Amazon investigation surrounding Tambor, saying she wanted to “protect the process, and make sure that we have a process with the most integrity to make sure that everybody … that it turns out fair.”
Last week, Deadline reported that Soloway and the writers were working on a plan in case Tambor did not return to the series. Lysette, who plays a transgender yoga instructor on the show, said she hoped Amazon would “remove the problem and let the show go on.”
In responding to Lysette’s claims, Tambor acknowledged that he could be “volatile and ill tempered” and difficult to work with, but strongly denied accusations of sexual misconduct.
“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,” he said in a statement. “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.”