Yesterday The New York Times published an interview with seven cast members from Arrested Development, including Jeffrey Tambor, who was accused of sexual harassment on the set of Transparent. Before that though, earlier this month, Jeffrey spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, an interview that has been widely criticised for …here, Roxane Gay said it best:
Here is how to not write about someone accused of sexual harassment. Truly a master class in what not to do. https://t.co/dR9XviOcj6— roxane gay (@rgay) May 7, 2018
In the THR article, Jeffrey talks about a time when he blew up on Jessica Walter, who plays Lucille Bluth, while working on Arrested Development. This incident is addressed during the NYT discussion. Jessica says that she’s never been treated like the way Jeffrey treated her in all the years she’s been working. It is clearly still upsetting to her, even though she is willing to move on and let it go. And then what happens is that Jason Bateman takes the lead and starts to rationalise on Jeffrey’s behalf, explaining that it’s part of the “process” of being an actor, and that working together on a show like Arrested Development is a unique situation – so, basically, the acting environment is special, and because it’s so f-cking special, people get to be assholes. Jessica tries to challenge that and Alia Shawkat points out too that that’s not a reason to be such a dick to someone. But every time Jessica attempts to convey how traumatising it must have been, to be berated and humiliated by her colleague, Jason jumps in to shut her down. And so, in the end, she has to come around to his side. Because she realises she’s outnumbered. She realises that even though everyone has acknowledged that Jeffrey was clearly in the wrong, that she was innocent, she’s the one who has to swallow back her indignation, she’s the one who has to find a way to forgive him, to modify her position – and make it SMALLER – so that he can continue to occupy his. In other words, she is revictimised.
Jason has since apologised for how that went down.
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.
I appreciate how specific he was in his apology. But I’m not here to compliment him on his apologising skills. What’s been done here is an example of how women can be silenced and disadvantaged, even in non-violent ways, by so-called well-meaning men. And it illuminates an entire spectrum of conditioned and institutionalised misogyny. So it’s not just the monsters that have to be handled. Sometimes it’s the “nice guys” who disappoint you the most.
This is what Rebecca Solnit was able to get at in Men Explain Things To Me – that all of these behaviours are related because in denying a woman the ability to name her injustice and confront it, you deny her the right to life, liberty, and “the pursuit of involvement in cultural and political arenas”.. Which is exactly what happened to Jessica Walter. She tried to tell her story. She was then told how to tell her own story and how to feel about it afterwards. And when you multiply what happened to her by the number of women – all of us – who’ve experienced similar, an enormous crater begins to take shape, a hideously massive hole and inside it all the voices and the lives that have been muted.
Click here to read the NYT piece if you haven’t already. Rebecca Solnit’s essay Men Explain Things To Me is included in her book of essays of the same name.
Yours in gossip,