Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz has apologized for not realizing the extent of the problem between Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter. Speaking with Deadline, he indicated that he saw some of the now-famous argument on tape and didn’t realize how serious it was from what he saw.
“I’m guilty of not realizing how deeply upsetting that was for Jessica. I heard about it and saw parts of it in the dailies, although the part I saw didn’t seem that—I don’t know—momentous. But fights and outbursts always start with things that are smaller.”
Hurwitz explained that the argument began when Jeffrey was doing a speech, and Jessica wanted to change something in her speech. He indicated that the two are different in their approaches in that Walter is a perfectionist, like Mitchell, while Tambor is more “loose” and sometimes gets “off course” but “finds his way back.” While she was “resetting,” Jeffrey became upset with her. He apparently went on for a bit, and Walter apologized repeatedly. Hurwitz said that in the taping he saw, Tambor walked out of the frame. In actuality, he walked off the set. Mitchell indicated that it was dealt with quickly. Jessica told him about it, and Jeffrey apologized. He described Walter as professional and said that they got back to work. Hurwitz thought it was behind them.
It wasn’t until Jessica broke down in a cast interview with The New York Times that Mitchell Hurwitz understood how hurt she was by the incident. It was then that he realized, “There was more to it than I realized.”
“I misinterpreted what I understood to have played out, and more importantly the depth of Jessica’s pain about it. I feel so bad about that. I feel bad because I love these people—I feel bad for very personal reasons…I wish I’d known, or made a greater effort to know, the pain that it caused.”
Mitchell Hurwitz stands by his decision not to fire Jeffrey Tambor after allegations of sexual misconduct on Amazon’s Transparent surfaced because he’s not aware of similar behavior with anyone connected with Arrested Development. He added that Jessica Walter has made the same point. He clarified that he does not excuse sexual harassment in any way; it’s an offense for which someone should lose their job. Hurwitz just isn’t aware of that kind of behavior from Tambor on Arrested Development or any other project he has worked with him on in the 20 years he has known him.