Jason Bateman Apologizes To Jessica Walter For Attempting To ‘Mansplain’ Jeffrey Tambor’s On-Set Behavior

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When Jeffrey Tambor was removed from Amazon’s Transparent after an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations, multiple Arrested Development cast members stood behind him ahead of the Season 5 return to Netflix. That included Jason Bateman, who declined to speak on the allegations but stated, “I love Jeffrey. I always will.” And following a New York Times group interview, in which Jessica Walter emotionally reacted to an on-set temperamental outburst by Tambor, Bateman is under fire for his reaction within the discussion.

Bateman’s response played like an attempt to explain that such outbursts aren’t unusual in artistic environments, and maybe Tambor was working though his process, not acting like his true self. While this was the first time that the cast had publicly worked through what had happened, and things were bound to be messy, Bateman’s reaction was a little dicey, given that Walter was the one subjected to Tambor’s outburst.

While Walter clearly forgave Tambor and said she’d still work with him again, Bateman still aimed to make amends. Over the course of several tweets, he profusely apologized while stating that he wasn’t excusing Tambor’s behavior, and that he was “horrified that I wasn’t more aware of how this incident affected her.” Bateman also stated that he was mortified and “shouldn’t have tried so hard to mansplain” and this has been “a big learning moment” for him.

Bateman may have received a little PR coaching here, but the apology was not a cursory one. He didn’t drop a “sorry, not sorry,” and he appears to be intent upon not letting this happen again. Yet it’s also important to note that there were other voices in the Times conversation, most prominently, cast member Alia Shawkat, who interjected that the use of artistic process doesn’t mean that any behavior is acceptable, and that “things are changing” in the industry, “and people need to respect each other differently.” Indeed.

Obviously, there’s no easy return to the Netflix airwaves for the AD cast. As show creator Mitchell Hurwitz has revealed, filming on Season 5 was nearly complete when the Tambor allegations dropped, and without him, “There would be no show.” Hurwitz also described Tambor as both “difficult” and a “grump” at times, but hopefully, many of the show’s players have gone through a learning experience in the lead up to Season 5.