The group conversation went viral yesterday (May 23) after plenty of people pointed out the male cast members' total lack of respect for female actors Jessica Walter and Alia Shawkat. The interviewer brought up the allegations against Jeffrey Tambor on the set of Transparent, as well as a past "blowup" between Tambor and Walter on the set of Arrested Development.
As they've been doing since the allegations against Tambor emerged, the male cast members of Arrested Development jumped to the defence of the onscreen Bluth family patriarch.
In the NYT interview, Walter (audibly crying) said, "I have to let go of being angry at him," referencing Tambor's outburst on set.
Tambor claims that he had "profusely apologized," at which point Bateman jumped in an attempted to justify his colleague's on-set behaviour.
"Again, not to belittle it or excuse it or anything, but 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 behaviour and certain people have certain processes."
Shawkat, the only cast member who has publicly defended Tambor's accusers, interjected. "But that doesn't mean it's acceptable," she said. "And the point is that things are changing, and people need to respect each other differently."
Tony Hale added, "We've all had moments."
"I agree with everybody," David Cross chimed in. "And I think it's important to note — and it hasn't been noted — that this kind of behaviour that's being described, it didn't just come out of the blue. It wasn't zero to 60. There is a cumulative effect sometimes."
Walter said, "Jason says this happens all the time. 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."
When Walter argued that no other cast members had treated her the way Tambor did ("Not like that. That was bad."), Bateman continued to stuff his foot further into his mouth, saying:
Again, there is context. What we do for a living is not normal, and therefore the process is not normal sometimes, and to expect it to be normal is to not understand what happens on set. Again, not to excuse it, Alia, but to be surprised by people having a wobbly route to their goal, their process — it's very rarely predictable. All I can say, personally, is I have never learned more from an actor that I've worked with than Jeffrey Tambor. And I consider him one of my favourite, most valued people in my life.
The internet lost its collective mind reading the interview, and leapt to the defence of Walter.
this is the story of a wealthy group of men who are willing to excuse everything; and the two women in the room who had no choice but to keep them all bouyant even as they were crying https://t.co/qZebwO3Vd0— rachel syme (@rachsyme) May 23, 2018
fuck all these fucking assholes, and how DARE you not immediately come to the defense of the divine jessica walter https://t.co/iqPQ6sLnkr— J. Escobedo Shepherd (@jawnita) May 23, 2018
Jessica Walter made her screen debut before most of the other Arrested Development cast members were born, yet here they are talking over her to explain set dynamics.— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) May 23, 2018
Why is Jason Bateman so terrible in this interview with the arrested development cast??? https://t.co/H7uNXc0lfH— roxane gay (@rgay) May 23, 2018
Jessica Walter actually cries in this interview about how terrible Jeffrey Tambor was to her and her male co-stars go to extraordinary lengths to comfort and defend...Tambor. FFS. https://t.co/1bv4JHesW2— Marin Cogan (@marincogan) May 23, 2018
This is, uh, not great. (I mean, the piece is good. But the men are not listening to the women in this conversation. Hard-core, almost across the board.) https://t.co/6iEzqiFw9y— Linda Holmes (@lindaholmes) May 23, 2018
The Men of Arrested Development: This wasn't real harassment. He's a great guy.— Diona Reasonover (@DionaReasonover) May 24, 2018
Ron Howard voice: They were wrong. https://t.co/iYyFHOwUrO
I'm glad about this Arrested Development interview. I'm glad people get to see, at least once in a while, what it's really like for women in Hollywood. 99% of your fave dudes are problematic. Don't @ me— Lexi Alexander (@Lexialex) May 24, 2018
I am shaking with fury reading the Arrested Development interview and seeing a woman be gaslit by her male colleagues in real time— Natalie Walker (friend of Paddington) (@nwalks) May 23, 2018
A deeply uncomfortable conversation that includes wayyyy too much "not to belittle it or excuse it or anything." https://t.co/DTT2zEWGe4— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) May 23, 2018
Following the backlash, Bateman has now responded with a public apology via Twitter. Read it below.
Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people's thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here.— Jason Bateman (@batemanjason) May 24, 2018
I sound like I'm condoning yelling at work. I do not.
It sounds like I'm excusing Jeffery. I do not.
It sounds like I'm insensitive to Jessica. I am not.
In fact, I'm-
- horrified that I wasn't more aware of how this incident affected her.— Jason Bateman (@batemanjason) May 24, 2018
I was so eager to let Jeffrey know that he was supported in his attempt to learn, grow and apologize that I completely underestimated the feelings of the victim, another person I deeply love - and she was..
... sitting right there!— Jason Bateman (@batemanjason) May 24, 2018
I'm incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry to have done that to Jessica. This is a big learning moment for me.
I shouldn't have tried so hard to mansplain, or fix a fight, or make everything okay.
I should've focused more on what the most important...
...part of it all is - there's never any excuse for abuse, in any form, from any gender. And, the victim's voice needs to be heard and respected.— Jason Bateman (@batemanjason) May 24, 2018
I didn't say that and instead said a bunch of other stuff and not very well.
I deeply, and sincerely, apologize.
The first half of the new season of Arrested Development arrives on Netflix on May 29.