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Jeffrey Tambor Arrested Development Season 5
In November, just after filming had wrapped on Arrested Development’s fifth season, Jeffrey Tambor was accused of sexual harassment by two members of the Transparent team at Amazon. After months of investigation, Amazon fired Tambor from the series in February, with the actor admitting in a statement that, “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.”
After that, it was unclear what would happen to Jeffrey Tambor’s other famous role as the crooked Bluth patriarch on Arrested Development. In May, Netflix announced that despite the allegations, Tambor would return as George Bluth, Sr. in Season Five of the show.
Now in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz says they had no choice but to keep Tambor in the show, as filming had wrapped before the allegations and Amazon’s investigation.
Hurwitz tells EW that he discussed the accusations with the actor when they surfaced in November, and that “he was as surprised by it as I was.” He acknowledges that Tambor—with whom he’s worked for 20 years and whom he considers a friend — can be “difficult” and “a grump,” but says that “Jeffrey has never evinced that kind of behavior.” Emphatically stating that “we all stand with victims of sexual abuse,” Hurwitz says that he hadn’t received any sexual-misconduct complaints about Tambor from the Arrested cast and crew, and when he checked with Netflix and the show’s studio, 20th Century Fox Television, they hadn’t either. The creator says that given the information that he had, he did not envision a scenario in which Tambor would be removed from season 5. “We were done shooting—there was no version of cutting him out of the show, or there would be no show,” he explains. That said, “Am I going to cut Jeffrey out of the show, based on allegations that he disputes, that Amazon hasn’t shared, and that we have never experienced any complaints about? No, of course I am not going to…. I’m going to support Jeffrey.”
Meanwhile, some of the Arrested Development cast has supported Tambor, with David Cross saying in February, “I can’t speak for everybody, but I know there are a number of us who stand behind him—from the limited amount we know, we stand behind Jeffrey—and I am one of them.” Jason Bateman said at the time, “I love Jeffrey. I always will. I can’t go further than that, but I will always love that man.”
Though Jessica Walter, who plays Lucille Bluth, was more guarded in her response. As EW reports:
Walter, his onscreen wife, says she is still “privately processing my feelings about the way I was treated by him,” referring to that Season 5 outburst. She does note that she “never saw anything from him that crossed the line” in terms of sexual harassment. “I have great empathy for the courage of people who feel they have been harassed in any form speaking out—and sympathy for people who have been unjustly accused,” she says. “It’s a very difficult situation for everyone involved.”
The first eight episodes of Season Five land on Netflix on May 29.