The cast of Arrested Development reunited this week for a frank group interview that addressed some difficult topics, including allegations of sexual misconduct against Jeffrey Tambor and an on-set fight he had years ago with co-star Jessica Walter.
The wide-ranging discussion with the New York Times, which included Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Jason Bateman, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, Will Arnett, and David Cross, also touched on how the fifth season of the show confronts President Trump’s administration and the challenges of the series’ longevity. Portia de Rossi and Michael Cera, the show’s other two stars, did not participate.
Tensions were laid bare when the interview turned to allegations of sexual and verbal harassment against Tambor. The actor, who plays George Bluth Sr. in the show, was accused of sexual harassment last year by two people on Amazon’s Transparent. He was fired from Transparent in the wake of the claims.
Tambor recently acknowledged that he could be “mean” and “difficult” on set but denied the Transparent allegations in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He also alluded to a “blowup” with Walter, his on-screen wife on Arrested Development, for which he said he “profusely apologized.”
Bateman (Michael Bluth) defended Tambor’s behavior as typical of sometimes-strained relations. “In the entertainment industry it is incredibly common to have people who are, in quotes, ‘difficult.’” he said. “It’s a weird thing, and it is a breeding ground for atypical behavior and certain people have certain processes.”
“But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable,” Shawkat (Maeby Fünke) shot back. “And the point is that things are changing, and people need to respect each other differently.”
Walter (Lucille Bluth) cried when she recounted the incident with Tambor, describing it as anything but ordinary. “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,” she said. “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.”
The exchange sat uncomfortably for some readers, sparking a heated debate on social media.
Tambor will appear on Arrested Development‘s fifth season, which is set to be released on Netflix on May 29. The cult favorite ran for three seasons on Fox from 2003 to 2006, before Netflix revived the show in 2013.
After drawing criticism, Bateman apologized to co-star Jessica Walter Thursday morning in a series of tweets.