Jeffrey Tambor Speaks Out In First Interview Since Being Hit With Sexual Harassment Allegations

Jeffrey Tambor has something to say.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published on Monday, May, 7, 2018, the 73-year-old actor spoke out against the sexual harassment allegations he's faced in recent months. Admitting that he did not always behave well on set, Tambor, who was fired from the hit Amazon series Transparent three months after the claims went public, denies having sexually harassed either his former assistant, Van Barnes, or actress Trace Lysette. "I don't want to characterize them," he said, referring to his actions towards his accusers, specifically Barnes. "What I said was that she was a disgruntled assistant. I think that was generous of me. I dispute her account. I did raise my voice at times, I was moody at times, there were times when I was tactless. But as for the other stuff, absolutely not."

Tambor explained that his behavior was, in part, caused by his constant worry about playing the transgender character Maura Pfefferman as a cisgender man, something that reportedly upset some members of the transgender community. "I drove myself and my castmates crazy," Tambor shared. "Lines got blurred. I was difficult. I was mean. I yelled at [Transparent creator Jill Soloway] — she told me recently she was afraid of me. I yelled at the wonderful [executive producer] Bridget Bedard in front of everybody. I made her cry. And I apologized and everything, but still, I yelled at her. The assistant directors. I was rude to my assistant. I was moody. Sometimes I didn't talk at all."

"And this is where the reader says, 'So what?' You know? 'You're coming in from the Palisades, you drive in, you get a good paycheck, you get to play one of the best roles in the world. So. What,'" stated Tamor, who claimed that writing producer Faith Soloway had originally voiced support for him amid the allegations. "But I was scared, because I was a cisgender male playing Maura Pfefferman. And my whole thing was, 'Am I doing it right? Am I doing it right? Am I doing it right?' To the point that I worried myself to death."

Since being hit with the allegations, Tambor told THR that he's more aware of how his actions may be interpreted. "It's already changed my behavior on set. Just walking in here today, into this cafe, I hadn't seen the owner in a long time. I mean, do you hug? Do you not hug? When you see fans...," he said. "You know what I do feel? More present. Everything's just clearer to me."

As Deadline had previously reported, Tambor was accused of sexual harassment in November 2017. His former assistant Barnes alleged that Tambor had propositioned her, groped her, and made lewd comments to her. She also claimed that Tambor had threatened to hit her with a lawsuit if she spoke up about his alleged behavior. In an interview with Megyn Kelly, Barnes later claimed that Tambor once watched her sleep naked (an allegation that Tambor profusely denied in his THR interview).

Tambor denied the allegations at the time, stating, in part, "I adamantly and vehemently reject and deny any and all implication and allegation that I have ever engaged in any improper behavior toward this person or any other person I have ever worked with. I am appalled and distressed by this baseless allegation."

Actress Lisette also accused Tambor of sexually harassing her, once telling her that he wanted to "attack [her] sexually" when she arrived on set in shorts and a revealing top. Lisette also claimed that Tambor had gotten physical with her. "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," she said. "I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas."

Soon after Lisette's claims went public, Tambor released a statement, saying, "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."

In apparent defense of Tambor, an unidentified Transparent producer said (via THR), "It's a really loose set," adding, "Everybody behaves in a sensual manner because it's a show about sex. Everyone says things like, 'You're so hot, oh my God. I had a dream about you last night.'"

Though Tambor may have lost his job on Transparent, he was been confirmed to star in the fifth season of Arrested Development, which will premiere on May 29, 2018.