Jeffrey Tambor Says Sexual-Harassment Allegations Were a ‘Coup’ to Have Him Removed From Transparent

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Actor Jeffrey Tambor in 2017. Photo: Tara Ziemba/FilmMagic

Four months after his firing from Transparent over sexual harassment allegations, Jeffrey Tambor has made his case to The Hollywood Reporter. Allegations that he sexually harassed trans actresses Van Barnes and Trace Lysette were all part of a coup to oust him from the Amazon show, Tambor says. The actor repeated admissions that he was rude and temperamental on set because he was so obsessed with playing his Transparent character Maura to the best of his ability. “Lines got blurred. I was difficult. I was mean. I yelled at Jill — she told me recently she was afraid of me,” Tambor said — but he denied allegations that he spied on Barnes while naked or touched either actress inappropriately.

Before Tambor was fired by Transparent creator Jill Soloway, he says he received an email from Soloway’s sister and Transparent writing producer Faith Soloway suggesting allegations against him were part of larger efforts to have him removed from the show. Since season one, THR reports, critics accused Tambor — a cis man playing a trans character — of transface, and took issue with his casting. Faith Soloway’s email was not provided to THR, but both Faith and Tambor 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 said she also sent mesages of support to Tambor’s accusers, but felt that Jill and Tambor were “under attack.”

After reading Faith’s email, Tambor begin to suspect the allegations against him had an agenda, he told THR: “The message sent a ‘shock wave’ through him because it led him to believe that ‘something was up, over and above me. Some dots were not connecting,’” the magazine reports. “Suspecting he was being set up to be ousted because he is cisgender, Tambor released a third, more pointed statement on Nov. 19.” After an Amazon investigation, Tambor was fired, and he and Jill Soloway haven’t spoken since February, he says. The actor told THR that he still feels “abandoned” because Jill never issued a statement supporting him.

Though he was dismissed from Transparent before its final season, Tambor is still starring in Arrested Development’s upcoming season, which was filmed before the allegations against him broke. The actor says he’s reading books about death and grieving to reckon with his Transparent firing: “[Maura] was like a friend. That may trigger eye rolls, but she was very real to me. And I think in many ways much more awake than I.”

Jeffrey Tambor Says Harassment Claims Were Part of a ‘Coup’