Actor Jeffrey Tambor has quit Transparent, according to Deadline, and is condemning the accusations against him of sexual misconduct as part of “the politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set.”
Tambor’s performance as Maura Pfefferman on the show has won him a Golden Globe and Emmy for acting. The show was headed into its fifth season, though it’s future will now be uncertain.
“Playing Maura Pfefferman on Transparent has been one of the greatest privileges and creative experiences of my life,” said Tambor, according to the statement issued by his publicist. “What has become clear over the past weeks, however, is that this is no longer the job I signed up for four years ago.
“I’ve already made clear my deep regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being aggressive, but the idea that I would deliberately harass anyone is simply and utterly untrue,” he said. “Given the politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don’t see how I can return to Transparent.”
Tambor faced two accusations by trans people of harassment. The first was made by his former assistant, Van Barnes, who accused Tambor of saying “I should be sleeping with him if I want a Hollywood industry appropriate pay grade.” Then came an account on Thursday by actress Trace Lysette, who said that while on set, Tambor "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. I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas and I pushed him off of me.”
Numerous famous transgender people had publicly expressed support for Lysette on Thursday, including model Isis King, Sense8 actress Jamie Clayton, journalist Janet Mock, and Orange is the New Black actress Laverne Cox. The entertainment world wasn’t the only to react to the allegations, with the National Center for Transgender Equality issuing a statement on Friday.
“Van Barnes and Trace Lysette are friends and my sisters. That this sort of thing has happened to them is heartbreaking for all of us at NCTE. That it happens so frequently—particularly to trans women—should horrify all of society,” said Mara Keisling, the group’s executive director.
GLAAD last week issued a statement already looking into the next life of the show without Tambor, saying it hopes “future seasons will focus on more of the many brilliant characters that audiences love and care about.”
Indeed, a writer for the show, Our Lady J, who is also transgender, echoed Lysette’s call for Transparent to go on without Tambor in her Instagram statement, reiterating that “we cannot let trans content be taken down by a single cis man.”