Jeffrey Tambor has been dropped from the Emmy-winning Amazon comedy-drama Transparent after sexual harassment allegations.
The decision was confirmed by Amazon on Thursday after an investigation. The actor, who played the transgender matriarch Maura Pfefferman in the show, was accused of misconduct by his co-star Trace Lysette in November.
“He came in close, put his bare feet on top of mine so I could not move, leaned his body against me, and began quick, discreet thrusts back and forth against my body,” Lysette said in a statement on Twitter. “I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas.”
On Thursday Soloway praised Lysette for coming forward with the allegations, and said she was taking “definitive action” to ensure the “safety and dignity” of the cast and crew of the Amazon show were respected.
“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 told Deadline.
Tambor responded by calling Amazon’s internal investigation “deeply flawed” and said it was a product of the “toxic politicized atmosphere that afflicted our set”.
“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.”
The original allegations came after Tambor’s assistant Van Barnes claimed he had propositioned her, made lewd comments, groped her and threatened her if she shared her story.
After Lysette came forward, Tambor apologized but denied wrongdoing. “I am deeply sorry if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being sexually aggressive or if I ever offended or hurt anyone,” he said. “But the fact is, for all my flaws, I am not a predator and the idea that someone might see me in that way is more distressing than I can express.”
Amazon has now decided not to renew his contract for the show’s fifth season. His fellow cast members, including Judith Light and Jay Duplass, are all confirmed to return. It’s not yet clear if it will be the show’s final season.
“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,” the show’s creator, Jill Soloway, said. “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.”
Tambor has won two Emmys and a Golden Globe for the role.
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