It seems sexual harassment allegations coming out of Hollywood are a dime a dozen these days, as Jeffrey Tambor joined the list of actors accused of shady wrongdoing on set. Like the recent shutdown that plagued House of Cards (Kevin Spacey is likely out), Amazon is now considering tossing Tambor to the curb for the fifth season of the groundbreaking series Transparent.
Last week, Emmy-winner Tambor responded to allegations of indecent conduct made by his former assistant. Amazon confirmed that they were opening an investigation into the matter, while Deadline reported that “the writers have contemplated a possible a fifth season without the show’s title and celebrated character.”
Further allegations arose this week, this time from Trace Lysette, a Trans actress who claimed Tambor “sexualized me with an over the top comment,” and made inappropriate contact on multiple occasions. She posted on Twitter:
One day on set during season 2 Jeffrey, Alexandra Billings and I were all outfitted in pajamas. I was in a flimsy top and matching short shorts. Upon seeing me in my costume, Jeffrey sexualized me with an over the top comment. Alexandra and I laughed it off because it was so absurd and we thought surely it had to be a bad joke. I shook it off. Then later, in between takes, I stood in a corner on the set as the crew reset for a wide shot. My back was against the wall in a corner as Jeffrey approached me. He came in close, put his bare feet on top of mine so I could not move, leaned his body against me, and began quick, discreet thrust back and forth against my body. I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas and I pushed him off of me. Again, I laughed it off and rolled my eyes. I had a job to do and I had to do it with Jeffrey, the lead of our show.
For the past four years, I’ve had the huge privilege — and huge responsibility — of playing Maura Pfefferman, a transgender woman, in a show that I know has had an enormous, positive impact on a community that has been too long dismissed and misunderstood. Now I find myself accused of behavior that any civilized person would condemn unreservedly. I know I haven’t always been the easiest person to work with. I can be volatile and ill-tempered, and too often I express my opinions harshly and without tact. But I have never been a predator — ever. I am deeply sorry if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being sexually aggressive or if I ever offended or hurt anyone. But the fact is, for all my flaws, I am not a predator and the idea that someone might see me in that way is more distressing than I can express.
Amazon’s story has remained the same. The streaming service confirmed that Lysette’s allegations will be “added to our ongoing conversation.” Lysette also called for Transparent to “use this as an opportunity, a teachable moment to re-center the other trans characters in this show with the family members instead of just pulling it … Don’t let the trans community suffer for the actions of one cis male actor.” (Though renewed, the show has not yet begun production on Season 5.)
I feel like I should be commenting here, but what else can be said about the flaming dumpster fire that is our world and Hollywood. These stories have received countless coverage everywhere else, but something about this whole Tambor thing feels extra uncomfortable, since Transparent is a show about supporting the Trans community and treating those who are sometimes ostracized with love and respect. With the Louis CK’s, Spacey’s and Tambor’s seemingly multiplying, it’s a positive sign (I suppose, silver lining here) that victims of sexual harassment and assault feel comfortable enough to step forward and hold their aggressors accountable for their actions. The #RoseArmy doesn’t seem like it’ll quit any time soon.
It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out over at Amazon and Netflix as the dominoes continue to fall. Hopefully all of these post-Weinstein accusations will make the industry reconsider itself. That those in power, going forward, might think twice about acting upon their depraved proclivities. Though this is a problem that probably won’t ever go away completely, Hollywood should learn quickly that the spotlight is and always has been on them, and how consumers choose to spend (or not spend) their dollars could eventually sink them. It’s all disheartening and shocking.
What can we do to address/prevent patriarchal abuse- present & future- in creative communities/industries? Pls comment thoughts…….. Culturally we are given no map to navigate this shit, so victims and witnesses stay quiet while abuse is normalized, enabled & continued…. How can we disrupt this pattern? I have fucking many pages of feelings drafted in my notes right now, but would currently rather listen than share. Fuck. Let’s talk. (Also pls explore this hashtag for perspective, hmmm > #myjobshouldnotincludeabuse) design by @badasscrossstitch 🌹