Another Arrested Development star is issuing an apology to Jessica Walter.
On Wednesday, the New York Times published a roundtable interview with the cast of the beloved comedy series. Walter along with her co-stars David Cross, Jason Bateman, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, Will Arnett, and Jeffrey Tambor, opened up about filming the latest season of the Netflix series and things got awkward when the Times questioned Tambor on his allegations of sexual harassment. While Tambor attempted to defend his behavior on the set of Transparent — the show from which most of the allegations stem — he also referenced his behavior on Arrested Development, prompting Walter to admit she had been on the receiving end of Tambor’s verbal abuse while filming the series.
Walter tearily admitted feeling embarrassed and hurt by Tambor’s behavior towards her before saying she felt she needed to forgive him and move on. As uncomfortable as the exchange was, Walter’s male co-stars, particularly Bateman, made the situation worse when they came to Tambor’s defense, attempting to explain his actions and minimize Walter’s experience. Bateman issued an apology to Walter for “mansplaining” too much during the interview and now Cross is also trying to make amends for his poor handling of the situation.
“So I will unequivocally apologize to Jessica. I’m sorry that we behaved the way that we behaved,” Cross told Gothamist on Thursday, May 24. “Whatever the criticisms are, I will own up. I don’t even know what they are, as I said, I saw the initial thing but I jumped off [social media] at the behest of various people.”
The stand-up comedian, along with Bateman and Hale, all piped up in defense of Tambor as Walter’s relayed her experience to the paper, with only Shawkat, her female co-star, coming to her defense. The entire exchange caused an uproar on social media, with fans criticizing the men of Arrested Development for dismissing Walter’s feelings in favor of protecting yet another problematic male actor.
Along with a public apology, Cross claims to have also sent a personal apology to Walter and he’s advised his wife — actress and outspoken feminist Amber Tamblyn — to stay off social media after Tamblyn was forced to respond to trolls questioning her thoughts on her husband’s actions. Tamblyn isn’t responsible for her partner’s bad behavior but, in her defense, she tweeted that she too was angry with Cross for how he handled the situation.
The #MeToo movement may be gaining ground when it comes to sexual harassment in Hollywood but this incident with Walter proves the industry has a long way to go when it comes to addressing verbal abuse and bad behavior, particularly by men who are often labeled as “auteur” and therefore given a pass for their unprofessionalism. No matter how talented, it’s never acceptable to berate a co-worker. Hopefully, Walter speaking up about her experience will help usher in a change in how we view these kinds of harmful interactions.