The Internet has Jessica Walter’s back. Jason Bateman is receiving backlash on social media after he defended Jeffrey Tambor over harassment claims while Walter cried about his alleged behavior on the set of Arrested Development.
Walter, who played Tambor’s wife and Bateman’s mom in the beloved series, claimed that Tambor verbally harassed her in an emotional admission during a cast interview with The New York Times, posted on Wednesday, May 23. (Tambor sat just a few feet away from Walter as she made this admission, and replied that he has “profusely apologized” and called Walter “a walking acting lesson.”)
“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, 49, responded in defense of Tambor during the interview that also included David Cross, Tony Hale and Will Arnett. “And when you’re in a privileged position to hire people, or have an influence in who does get hired, you make phone calls … 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.”
“Let me just say one thing that I just realized in this conversation,” Walter, 77, replied “through tears,” according to the publication. “I have to let go of being angry at him. He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever. Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. I have to let it go. And I have to give you [Tambor] a chance to, you know, for us to be friends again … But it’s hard because honestly — Jason says this happens all the time. In like almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set. And it’s hard to deal with, but I’m over it now. I just let it go right here, for The New York Times.”
Tambor, 73, was fired from Amazon’s Transparent in February after he was accused of sexual harassment on the set in November 2017. Netflix confirmed on May 4 that his Arrest Development character, George Sr., is still set to appear in season 5 of the comedy. Tambor denied all the allegations made against him.
Social media users were quick to react to the Times interview, slamming Bateman and his male coats for not defending Walter.
“Jessica Walter actually cries in this interview about how terrible Jeffrey Tambor was to her and her male co-stars go to extraordinary lengths to comfort and defend…Tambor. FFS,” one user wrote alongside a link to the Times interview.
Jessica Walter actually cries in this interview about how terrible Jeffrey Tambor was to her and her male co-stars go to extraordinary lengths to comfort and defend…Tambor. FFS. https://t.co/1bv4JHesW2
— Marin Cogan (@marincogan) May 23, 2018
“I think one of the grossest things about that Arrested Development interview is Jason Bateman bending over backwards to make Tambor, a harasser, comfortable, while making Jessica Walter, the harassed, actively less comfortable,” another user tweeted.
Another person wrote, “Jessica Walter received a Golden Globe nomination in 1971, when Jason Bateman was two years old, and he thinks he should explain to her how show business works.”
“one small but very striking thing from that nyt arrested development interview: jason bateman essentially explaining ‘how the industry works’ to jessica walter, as if she isn’t an accomplished veteran of the same industry,” one user wrote.
Netflix has yet to announce a release date for Arrest Development season 5.
Scroll through the read more reactions to the cast’s NYT interview:
Minimizing and normalizing everyday abuse is how we got to the moment we’re in right now. Changing the culture requires more than firing a few men. It requires asking why Jason Bateman feels the need to imply that verbal abuse is just something *everyone* does on set
— Emma Gray (@emmaladyrose) May 23, 2018
At best Jason Bateman's loyalty has made him tone deaf. At worst he's showing an abuser's justification for abusive behaviour.
In between those two extremes is a truly w o e f u l underestimation of how beloved Jessica Walter is by the rest of us
— Nutella Enchanted (@chrisopotamia) May 23, 2018
*crosses Jason Bateman off the list*
— Nichole ✨✨✨ (@tnwhiskeywoman) May 23, 2018
Nobody should care what Jason Bateman has to say about the way Jeffrey Tambor treated Jessica Walter.
EVERYBODY should care what Jessica Walter has to say about the way she was treated by Jeffrey Tambor.
— Gord Macey (@GordMacey) May 23, 2018
Three trans women have accused Jeffrey Tambor of inappropriate sexual behavior and on set conduct; Jessica Walter has accused him of screaming at her in a way she's never experienced in 60 years but Jason Bateman, Tony Hale, Will Arnett and David Cross are too ready to defend him
— Stuart Ross (@WStuartross) May 23, 2018
It just drives me up the wall to see Jason Bateman and David Cross trip over themselves to defend Jeffrey Tambor over an incident that they weren’t the target of, when Jessica Walter is sitting right there
— Ostrich (@flickeringICE) May 23, 2018
I was very excited to watch the new season but this is inexcusable and I'm so disappointed in jason bateman and david cross in particular.
— tatiana tenreyro (@tatianatenreyro) May 23, 2018
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