Yesterday The New York Times published an interview between seven of the main cast members of Arrested Development. NYT‘s Sopan Deb sat down with Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Jason Batman, Will Arnett, David Cross, Tony Hale and Alia Shawkat. The interview was to promote Arrested Development‘s upcoming fifth season on Netflix. Deb addressed the elephant in the room, Tambor’s alleged sexual misconduct on the set of Transparent.
Deb even brought up when Tambor verbally assaulted Walter on set at Arrested Development. Bateman quickly jumped in to defend Tambor and said that everyone in the cast has lost their cool before, to which Walter responded, “You’ve never yelled at me like that.”
The interview quickly turned into all the men speaking out about Walter’s experience on set and gaslighting her. “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,'” Bateman said.
Shawkat was the only voice of reason from the peanut gallery. She counterpointed Bateman’s difficult artist excuse with, “But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.”
Finally, Walter said her two cents about being horribly screamed at by a co-worker. “Let me just say one thing that I just realized in this conversation,” she said through tears. “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.”
She then went on to say, “But it’s hard because honestly — 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.”
After that Hale said, “We’ve all had moments,” to which Walter interjects, “But not like that, not like that.”
Fans and almost anyone who read the interview became upset with the men of Arrested Development. Tweets started flooding timelines about how gross the actors’ reactions were and how they treated Walter in the interview.
Here’s audio of Jessica Walter CRYING, standing up for herself after all the men in the AD cast try to gaslight her into thinking Tambor’s harassment isn’t THAT bad. This is horrific. pic.twitter.com/innJv8LIYF
— Kevin T. Porter (@KevinTPorter) May 23, 2018
one way the arrested development/jessica walter interview resonates so much is cause those of us who have been gaslighted about being abused at work rarely have a script that can be referred to, presented as truth
— J. Escobedo Shepherd (@jawnita) May 24, 2018
The male cast members made every effort to normalize & excuse Tambour's behavior while Alia Shawkat, the only other woman in the room, had Jessica Walter's back. And those men,the part time allies & their performative wokeness,are part of the problem. #ArrestedDevelopment
— Cher Martinetti (@thecherness) May 23, 2018
This is awful. Women/minorities are always expected to "forgive" those who wrong us. The onus is on us to make the perpetrator feel better abt themselves and so no one else feels uncomfortable. Fuck that. And fuck this show. Glad I never got into it so skipping it is easy for me https://t.co/QAOjdDL52V
— Akela Cooper 😈 (@AkelaCooper) May 24, 2018
Not listening and not hearing are cousins to not seeing. That's what's going on in this interview. It doesn't make these guys awful. It makes them typical. I have been that guy enough times to know it. All you can do is learn from it and try to catch yourself and stop yourself.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) May 23, 2018
This interview is really a perfect distillation of how people feel the need to protect and comfort powerful men at the expense of the people they've hurt. She was in the room. Crying. Everyone but Shawkat just wanted to defend him and move on. https://t.co/1bv4JHesW2
— Marin Cogan (@marincogan) May 23, 2018
This interview truly has everything like a crappy club that Stefon from Saturday Night Live would promote. It has gaslighting, mansplaining, men defending another man’s harassment, speaking over women and more.
The justified backlash starting pouring in on Twitter and most of it was at Bateman. If you read the full interview you can understand why he was the one to be singled out.
Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here. 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. 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! 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. Period. I didn’t say that and instead said a bunch of other stuff and not very well. I deeply, and sincerely, apologize.
Hale also apologized for the interview. He tweeted that he has reached out to Walter and apologized for his actions. “Arrested Development is one of my families,” he posted. “Regardless of my intentions, it is clear that my words, both said and unsaid, served to minimize Jessica’s pain and for that I am extremely sorry.”
I have reached out to Jessica personally to apologize. Arrested Development is one of my families. Regardless of my intentions, it is clear that my words, both said and unsaid, served to minimize Jessica’s pain and for that I am extremely sorry.
— Tony Hale (@MrTonyHale) May 24, 2018
The other Arrested Development men have yet to speak out about the reaction to the NYT interview or issue apologies.