The New York Times just released an interview with the cast of Arrested Development and one section, in particular, has sparked a lot of buzz across social media. Jessica Walter, who plays Lucille, opened up about what she says was verbal abuse many years ago from co-star Jeffrey Tambor, who plays George Sr. The way most other cast members responded, Jason Bateman in particular, has left fans stunned, and Bateman is now apologizing for his comments.
During the NYT interview, Walter spoke about one time on the set where Tambor allegedly blew up at her. Jeffrey had previously made reference to the incident during an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, and Jessica said during the group Arrested Development chat that she’s never had anybody in six decades of working yell at her like he did that one time.
Jason Bateman, who plays Michael on Arrested Development, said that while he wasn’t trying to excuse or belittle anything, some people in the industry are difficult and the entertainment world can be a breeding ground for atypical behavior. Bateman added that it’s not that Jessica had it coming, but that a lot of stuff happens in 15 years of working together and certain dynamics clash here and there. Jason also said that it was “a little narrow” to focus on that one incident out of everything related to the show.
Walter responded by noting that Bateman has never yelled at her like that, and through tears, she noted that she’s worked to let go of her anger toward Tambor. She said that Jeffrey was never sexually inappropriate and that he had apologized for verbally harassing her. Walter adds that she’s now over it and let it go right there during the interview, but Bateman’s comments struck a chord with many on social media, and it didn’t take him long to apologize.
Bateman took to Twitter to say that he has realized that he was wrong in what he said during the interview. The Arrested Development star says that in listening to the interview and what people said in response, he realizes that he sounded as if he was insensitive to Jessica, excusing Jeffrey, and condoning yelling at co-workers. He went on to say that he’s horrified that he hadn’t been more aware of how that incident impacted Walter.
Jason added that he had been anxious to let Tambor know he supported his efforts to grow, but he deeply loves Walter and underestimated how she felt about the situation. He says he is deeply sorry and incredibly embarrassed, and that this has been a major learning experience for him. The Arrested Development actor admitted that he had been trying to “mansplain” and make everything okay, and he now looks back and realizes he said all the wrong things.
The backlash against Bateman’s initial comments was swift and intense, perhaps because he’s beloved by many and his decision to seemingly minimize what happened to Walter and support Tambor came as shocking. The reaction to Jason’s apology appears to be mixed, and many will be anxious to see if he really utilizes this incident to grown and learn himself.
A new season of Arrested Development hits Netflix on May 29. Jeffrey Tambor is still a part of the cast, despite the allegations that led to his departure from the Amazon series Transparent, as are Jessica Walter, Jason Bateman, and the rest of the regulars. Was Bateman’s apology to Winter enough to win over his critics? Will this situation impact the ratings for the new season? People will definitely be curious to see what comes next.