“Transparent” actress Trace Lysette has accused Jeffrey Tambor of sexual harassment. Lysette is the second woman to go public with allegations against Tambor, following the actor’s former assistant Van Barnes on November 8. Lysette, who has recurred on the series as Shea since Season 1, posted a statement on Twitter in which she revealed Tambor harassed her on set during the making of Season 2 of Amazon’s Emmy-winning comedy.
According to Lysette, Tambor made “sexual advances and comments” towards her and “one time it got physical.” The actress said Tambor sexualized her in front of co-star Alexandra Billings during a break on set in between takes. Lysette laughed the comments off because “it was so absurd” and she thought “surely it had to be a joke.” But the harassment turned physical later that day.
“In between takes, I stood in a corner on the set as the crew reset for a wide shot. My back was against the wall in a corner as Jeffrey approached me. 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 writes. “I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas and I pushed him off of me.”
The actress says she laughed off the encounter again because she “had a job to do” and she “had to do it with Jeffrey, the lead of our show.” “When they called action, I put that moment in the corner into its own corner of my mind,” she writes. You can read Lysette’s entire statement in the post below.
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— Trace Lysette (@tracelysette) November 17, 2017
Amazon launched an investigation into the sexual harassment claims made by Barnes earlier this month, and the company said it is aware of Lysette’s accusation and is now looking into it as well. News broke earlier this week that the “Transparent” writers room is contemplating letting Tambor go and continuing the series without its main character.
In the wake of Lysette’s allegation, Tambor issued an official statement admitting to not being the “easiest person to work with,” but standing by his belief that he is not a sexual predator. “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,” the actor writes. His full statement is below:
For the past four years, I’ve had the huge privilege—and huge responsibility—of playing Maura Pfefferman, a transgender woman, in a show that I know has had an enormous, positive impact on a community that has been too long dismissed and misunderstood. Now I find myself accused of behavior that any civilized person would condemn unreservedly. I know I haven’t always been the easiest person to work with. I can be volatile and ill-tempered, and too often I express my opinions harshly and without tact. But I have never been a predator—ever. 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. 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.
Lysette is advocating for “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway and Amazon to “remove the problem and let the show go on.”