Future of Amazon’s ‘Transparent’ brought into question over Jeffrey Tambor allegations
The future of Amazon’s hit series ‘Transparent’ has been brought into question since sexual misconduct allegations were brought against Jeffrey Tambor.
Transgender actress Trace Lysette, who stars on Transparent, earlier this week accused the show’s frontman, Jeffrey Tambor, of sexually abusing her.
Lysette’s claim is the second allegation of sexual misconduct made against Tambor in the last two weeks.
Amazon said it had launched an investigation after the first allegation was made, and said it had added the second allegation to the “conversation”.
Lysette urged the network to “remove the problem and let the show go on,” which was echoed by GLAAD and other activists who said the show should not be cancelled over the allegations.
GLAAD said in a statement: “For too long transgender women have been forced to hide stories of harassment and abuse in the workplace, and Trace has taken a powerful stand in calling for an industry where all women can work in safe environments.
“GLAAD stands with Trace in her hope that the inappropriate situations she and others endured on set will be remedied, and that future seasons will focus on more of the many brilliant characters that audiences love and care about.”
Our Lady J, a writer and producer on Transparent said “We cannot let trans content be taken down” by the allegations.
Omar Sharif Jr also added that “it’s critical” that Transparent continue [without Tambor] as trans stories are needed more than ever!”
Trans actress Van Barnes said that while she was Tambor’s personal assistant on the show, he acted in a sexually inappropriate way towards her.
This led Amazon to open an investigation into Tambor.
And now, new allegations have come to light, with Lysette – who has featured on the show since 2014 – saying that following Barnes’ testimony, she had to “add my voice to the chorus.
“Jeffrey has acted inappropriately with me too. Jeffrey has made many sexual advances and comments at me, but one time it got physical.”
— Trace Lysette (@tracelysette) November 17, 2017
In her allegations, she detailed how Tambor had thrust his penis against her on set, in front of the entire crew.
Lysette wrote: “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 sexualised 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 thrusts back and forth against my body.
“I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas and I pushed him off of me.”
She said, as so many other alleged victims have, that she felt she could not speak out without endangering her prospects – and those of other trans actors.
“I laughed it off and rolled my eyes,” she recalled. “I had a job to do and I had to do it with Jeffrey, the lead of our show.
“When they called action, I put that moment in the corner into its own corner of my mind.
“Compartmentalising has always been part of my survival tool kit, long before I came to Hollywood.
“It’s s***ty to admit out loud – and I don’t say it to justify what I went through – but given the journey and circumstances of my life, I was used to being treated as a sexual object by men – this one just happened to be famous.
She then seemed to implicitly call for Tambor’s removal from the show.
“My hope is that Amazon can find the good in this, and use this as an opportunity, a teachable moment to re-centre the other trans characters in this show with the family members instead of just pulling it,” wrote Lysette.
“Don’t let the trans community suffer for the actions of one cis male actor.”
She continued: “I call on Amazon to make another bold affirmative move to our communities, remove the problem and let the show go on.”
In a statement responding to the claims, Tambor denied that he had acted like a predator, adding that he was “deeply sorry if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being sexually aggressive”.
He said: “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 behaviour that any civilised 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.
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“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.”
An Amazon spokesperson said: “This information will be added to our ongoing conversation.”