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Jason Bateman Apologizes to Jessica Walter for ‘Mansplaining’ and Dismissing Her Harassment on Set

Bateman received backlash for trying to downplay Jeffrey Tambor's verbal harassment of Walter during "Arrested Development" production.

Jessica Walter and Jason Bateman

Jessica Walter and Jason Bateman

Eric Charbonneau/REX/Shutterstock

Jason Bateman has issued an apology to Jessica Walter on his Twitter page for his comments during an interview between The New York Times and the “Arrested Development” cast. The Times published the interview on May 23, and Bateman received backlash for attempting to downplay Jeffrey Tambor’s verbal harassment of Jessica Walter on set. Walter said she had never been yelled at in 60 years of acting the way Tambor yelled at her during one day of filming, but Bateman said that kind of “difficult” behavior is more or less how sets work.

“Not to belittle it or excuse it or anything, but in the entertainment industry it is incredibly common to have people who are, in quotes, ‘difficult,’” Bateman told The Times. “And when you’re in a privileged position to hire people, or have an influence in who does get hired, you make phone calls. And you say, ‘Hey, so I’ve heard X about person Y, tell me about that.’ And what you learn is context. And you learn about character and you learn about work habits, work ethics, and you start to understand.”

Bateman posted on Twitter hours after the interview was published and admitted his comments were wrong. The actor said he does not condone yelling at work and is not insensitive to Walter’s feelings about the harassment.

“I’m horrified that I wasn’t more aware of how this incident affected her,” Bateman wrote. “I’m incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry to have done that to Jessica. This is a big learning moment for me. I shouldn’t have tried so hard to mansplain, or fix a fight, or make everything okay.”

Bateman said his main takeaway from the interview backlash is the following lesson: “There’s never any excuse for abuse, in any form, from any gender. And, the victim’s voice needs to be heard and respected.
Period.”

Bateman and Walter appear in the upcoming fifth season of “Arrested Development,” the first half of which begins streaming on Netflix starting May 29. You can read Bateman’s apology in the Twitter thread below.

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