Arrested Development stars stand by Jeffrey Tambor

LOS ANGELES—The creator and executive producer of Arrested Development acknowledges that some people will not like his decision to keep Jeffrey Tambor on the show after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced last October.

“Good people will find this offensive,” explained Mitchell Hurwitz. “I, too, get worked up when I hear about Harvey Weinstein and other people who have taken advantage of people. But I also believe very strongly that we don’t want to live in a world where accusations ruin people’s lives. We have tried that as a human race and it doesn’t always, doesn’t work out great, you know? So accusations are very different than proof and, you know, we obviously are going to support people that haven’t done, that haven’t been proved guilty.”

Jason Bateman, left, and Jeffrey Tambor attend the premiere of Netflix's Arrested Development Season 5 in Los Angeles on May 17.
Jason Bateman, left, and Jeffrey Tambor attend the premiere of Netflix’s Arrested Development Season 5 in Los Angeles on May 17.  (RICH FURY / GETTY IMAGES)

Hurwitz said production was nearly wrapped on Season 5 when news broke of the allegations made by Tambor’s former assistant and an actress on his other show, Transparent.

“Not only do I support him as a friend, but I’ve known him for 20 years. I’ve worked with him for 20 years and I’ve never seen any behaviour like that described,,” said Hurwitz.

The Arrested Development cast unanimously supported the 73-year-old actor at the Los Angeles premiere Thursday for the cult comedy’s new season. The event also marked one of the first public appearances for Tambor in recent months. Tambor posed for photos with his wife, Kasia Ostlun, but didn’t do interviews.

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Tambor denies the misconduct claims that led to his firing on Amazon’s Transparent earlier this year. His Arrested Development co-stars said they could only speak to their own experiences with the Emmy-winning actor.

“All I know about is Arrested Development and he’s always just been incredible with us and I’m really looking forward to seeing him tonight,” Jason Bateman said on his way into the screening.

“My experience with Jeffrey has been nothing but respectful,” echoed Tony Hale. “And he is such a funny man. He’s so talented and he’s an integral part of the show and just my experience has been nothing but respectful.”

When asked about Tambor remaining in Season 5, Jessica Walter, who plays his wife, simply said, “The family is the family. You can’t cut anybody out nor would we ever want to. It is what it is.”

For Alia Shawkat, who has known Tambor for many years and supports the women of the #MeToo movement, the situation is not cut and dried.

“Well, it’s a very complicated issue, obviously. I’m very close to Jeffrey and I care about him a lot. I just don’t think it has to completely be so one way or the other. It’s a complicated time, but I’m hoping that as this revolution progresses that we get more involved in the specifics of things and, you know, I support him being on the show, but I also support the voices of the victims at the same time,” she explained.

The fifth season of Arrested Development streams May 29 on Netflix.

TORONTO STAR

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