After a three-month investigation into claims of sexual misconduct against Jeffrey Tambor on the set of Amazon’s Transparent, series creator Jill Soloway has decided to continue the show without the actor who starred as transgender matriarch Maura Pfefferman. Amazon didn’t reveal details of their investigation, but sources said that Tambor’s behavior “could not be justified or excused under scrutiny.”
It was in November that Tambor was accused of misconduct on set by transgender actresses Van Barnes and Trace Lysette. In a statement explaining the decision to let Tambor go today, Soloway said: “I have great respect and admiration for Van Barnes and Trace Lysette, whose courage in speaking out about their experience on Transparent is an example of the leadership this moment in our culture requires. We are grateful to the many trans people who have supported our vision for Transparent since its inception and remain heartbroken about the pain and mistrust their experience has generated in our community,” she added. “We are taking definitive action to ensure our workplace respects the safety and dignity of every individual, and are taking steps to heal as a family.”
In a statement hours later, Tambor responded to his firing by lashing out again Soloway and the Jeff Bezos-run streaming service for their handling of the sexual harassment investigation.
“I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations against me,” he said. “I am even more disappointed in Jill Soloway’s unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow cast mates.”
He added: “In our four-year history of working together on this incredible show, these accusations have NEVER been revealed or discussed directly with me or anyone at Amazon. Therefore, I can only surmise that the investigation against me was deeply flawed and biased toward the toxic politicized atmosphere that afflicted our set. As I have consistently stated, I deeply regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone and I will continue to vehemently defend myself. I also deeply regret that this ground-breaking show, which changed so many lives, is now in jeopardy. That, to me, is the biggest heartbreak.”
It’s unclear at this point whether the Emmy-winning show will continue after the upcoming fifth season, but the writers had been working to create storylines that did not include the character of Maura.