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In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter on Monday, Tambor maintained the narrative he’d first presented in November of 2017: That while he was admittedly difficult to work with on set, he never sexually harassed his coworkers.
The actor was called out by two Transparent co-stars last fall, trans actresses Van Barnes and Trace Lysette, amid the onset of the #MeToo movement. Both women alleged Tambor sexually harassed them during their time at the show. Barnes claimed Tambor spied on her while naked, and both women said Tambor touched them inappropriately. Tambor asserts in his new interview that those allegations were part of a larger “coup” designed to oust him from his starring role.
“Lines got blurred,” he said. “I was difficult. I was mean. I yelled at [show creator] Jill [Soloway]—she told me recently she was afraid of me.”
Since the show’s first season, critics took issue with Transparent‘s choice in casting for its lead. Tambor playing a trans character as a cis actor, when so few out trans women are able to break into the television industry, caused some journalists to float the term “transface.” But was the negative press, years under the bridge by the time the #MeToo movement was underway, enough to motivate the “coup” Tambor envisions?
The smoking gun, as far as Tambor is concerned, is an email he received from Soloway’s sister, Transparent writing producer Faith Soloway. Before Tambor was fired, he says he received an email from Faith suggesting there may be higher-level motivation to have him removed from the series.
While Tambor and Soloway did not provide the alleged email to THR, both parties verbally confirmed its content.
“I can quote [the email] verbatim because I’ve looked at it for five months,” Tambor told THR. “It said, ‘We are in a coup. You are fucking fantastic. You have changed the world. We have changed the world. We will get through this. Love, love, love, Faith.’”
Faith Soloway said she also sent messages of support to Tambor’s accusers but felt that her sister and Tambor were “under attack” in the media.
Jeffrey Tambor: “This is the first time I’ve talked about this, ever, and possibly the last time. I used to teach acting, you know, and I’d always say, ‘Announce where you are.’ So this is me doing that” https://t.co/2Lx3u03Ljm
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) May 7, 2018
Though Tambor remains off the cast for Transparent‘s upcoming final season, he will be reprising his role for the new season of Netflix’s Arrested Development reboot.
Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.