Posted Thursday 5/24/18 at 2:03PM EDT
Has Jeffrey Tambor's abusive behavior tainted his work?
In an essay on "The Cultural Vandalism of Jeffrey Tambor," Matt Zoller Seitz writes that now that his abusive behavior on Transparent and Arrested Development have come out, Tambor has "lost the power of illusion — the illusions he created with such painstaking care — and all you can see now are allegations that seem a lot more convincing than his vague apologies and promises to do better." Seitz writes that Tambor's "performance as Hank Kingsley, the sidekick on The Larry Sanders Show, was one of the great portraits of showbiz narcissism, but I can’t imagine revisiting it with the same eyes now, especially during the season where Hank’s assistant, played by Scott Thompson, sues his boss for making homophobic jokes and contributing to a culture of harassment. I can’t lose myself in the fiction anymore because I don’t see the character he’s playing — not exclusively. I see the character for a few seconds or minutes at a time, and then the façade drops and I see the accused sexual harasser and verbal abuser who was fired from his award-winning lead role on Transparent, and who, according to (Jessica) Walter, verbally abused her on the set of Arrested Development. This sort of thing seems categorically different from, say, watching a film starring an actor whose political beliefs are different from yours (though there, too, a line could be irrevocably crossed). Once you believe that a particular actor or filmmaker or screenwriter is a predator or abuser, you’re aware that the environment that produced your entertainment — the film set — was engaged in a conscious or reflexive cover-up, in the name of protecting an investment."
- Jason Bateman showed how Hollywood has justified bad behavior for generations: "Bateman defaulted to every entrenched cultural script of minimizing fault," says David Sims, "downplaying misbehavior, and largely attributing Tambor’s verbal harassment to the unique, circumstantial pressures of acting—a process, he suggested, most onlookers could not hope to understand."
- The interview resonated because "the disrespect felt so benign in the delivery and so destructive in the effect": "How can you have 'zero complaints' about a workplace someone else remembers as containing the worst verbal abuse of her career?" says Linda Holmes. "Is that not, itself, a complaint? Why is it important that over and above forgiveness, Tambor receives absolution from the utterly unaffected men in the cast, right in front of the woman who initially told the Hollywood Reporter she didn't even want to talk about her history with him in the first place? Tambor brought all this up, put all of it out in public, just so everyone else could explain why it didn't matter? Is this reverse roast, this closing argument by a self-appointed defense attorney — is this supposed to be his reckoning?"
- Tony Hale joins Bateman in apologizing to Jessica Walter for his behavior in New York Times interview
- Bateman's apology was "actually good" and "oddly refreshing" -- a stark contrast to Louis CK's apology
- Life in Pieces star Thomas Sadowski slams Arrested men for what they did to Walter: "What in the halfpenny f*ck is happening?!"
- New York Times reporter Sopan Deb: "When I asked about Jeffrey Tambor, obviously the room's tone changed quite a bit"
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- Has Jeffrey Tambor's abusive behavior tainted his work?