I absolutely hate that Amazon’s Transparent — arguably the smartest, most progressive show on television — has been tainted by yet another sexual harassment scandal, but I am cautiously optimistic about the show as it moves forward without its ostensible lead, Jeffrey Tambor, who was officially cut from the show after an internal investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior.
Last year, transgender actresses Van Barnes and Trace Lysette made detailed allegations against Tambor. Tambor apologized, acknowledging that he was difficult to work with but denying any predatory behavior. Subsequent to that, allegations from two more women surfaced. Tambor stated that he didn’t think he could return to the “politicized atmosphere” of the Transparent set, but he did not officially quit (in fact, he walked back statements that suggested he had).
However, following Amazon’s full investigation, Tambor was officially cut from the series. Showrunner Jill Solloway confirmed the exit and showed support for Van Barnes and Lysette:
“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. 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.”
Meanwhile, Tambor later offered comment, saying that he was “profoundly disappointed” in Amazon’s handling of the investigation and “even more disappointed in Jill Soloway’s unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow castmates.”
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 groundbreaking show, which changed so many lives, is now in jeopardy. That, to me, is the biggest heartbreak.
That statement betrays a deep misunderstanding of the movement, which inspired women to come forward with their own stories of sexual harassment. The “politicized atmosphere” and the belief that they would be supported is exactly why they came forward with their accusations when they did. The only person we should be disappointed in here is Jeffrey Tambor.
Though the writers have figured out a path forward, the show has offered no details about the ultimate fate of Tambor’s character, who had actually been increasingly sidelined in recent seasons, as the focus has turned toward the Pfefferman children and Judith Light’s character. In fact, over the last two seasons, the show has been largely focused on issues of Jewish identity.