Jason Bateman Responds To Backlash After Defending Jeffrey Tambor Over Jessica Walter Harassment Claims

Jason Bateman is responding to backlash over his recent comments.

On Thursday, May 24, 2018, the actor took to social media to apologize for defending his Arrested Development co-star Jeffrey Tambor over co-star Jessica Walter's verbal harassment claims during the cast's New York Times interview the day before.

During the interview, Walter's male co-stars — Bateman, Tony Hale, Will Arnett, and David Cross, who had previously come to Tambor's defense following reports of his alleged actions on the set of Transparent — seemingly minimized and excused her account of Tambor's verbally abusive behavior toward her as she grew visibly upset.

After Tambor said that he'd "profusely apologized" to Walter for a particular incident, Bateman jumped into the conversation. "Again, not to belittle it or excuse it or anything, but in the entertainment industry it is incredibly common to have people who are, in quotes, 'difficult,'" he said. "Because it's a very amorphous process, this sort of s**t that we do, you know, making up fake life. It's a weird thing, and it is a breeding ground for atypical behavior and certain people have certain processes."

Alia Shawkat challenged her co-star, saying, "But that doesn't mean it's acceptable."

Meanwhile, Walter responded through tears, "Let me just say one thing that I just realized in this conversation. I have to let go of being angry at him. He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever. Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. I have to let it go."

"But it's hard because honestly — Jason says this happens all the time. In like almost 60 years of working, I've never had anybody yell at me like that on a set," she added. "And it's hard to deal with, but I'm over it now. I just let it go right here, for The New York Times."

After the interview went viral, Walter's male co-stars — particularly Bateman — were slammed on social media.

"Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people's thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here. 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," Bateman tweeted in response to the backlash, adding, "In fact, I'm horrified that I wasn't more aware of how this incident affected her. 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!"

The 49-year-old actor continued, "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. Period," Bateman concluded his statement. "I didn't say that and instead said a bunch of other stuff and not very well. I deeply, and sincerely, apologize."

As Nicki Swift previously reported, Tambor was fired from Transparent in February 2018 following Amazon Studio's investigation into sexual harassment claims made by the actor's former assistant, Van Barnes, and Transparent actress Trace Lysette in November 2017. The 73-year-old actor has continually denied the allegations, most recently in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in early May — during which he first mentioned his "blow up" incident with Walter.

After Tambor was let go from the hit Amazon show, it was confirmed that he would still return for Arrested Development's fifth season, which is set to premiere on Netflix on Tuesday, May 29.