Alia Shawkat supports the women who say Jeffrey Tambor sexually harassed them on the set of “Transparent.” “I was surprised, obviously. I’ve known him since I was very young,” Shawkat told IndieWire in New York on April 23 while promoting her new movie, “Duck Butter.” “I support the voices of the victims though, whatever they said.”
Shawkat has known Tambor since she was 14 years old, when she played Maeby Fünke on “Arrested Development” opposite Tambor’s George Bluth Sr. Last year, she appeared on “Transparent” Season 4. Tambor has been accused of sexual harassment by two women, and was subsequently fired from “Transparent” Season 5 by Amazon.
On November 8, Deadline reported that Amazon was conducting an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Tambor by his former assistant, Van Barnes. One week later, “Transparent” actress Trace Lysette wrote on Twitter that Tambor had cornered her up against a wall on set and thrust his pelvis against her. In March, Barnes told Megyn Kelly that Tambor propositioned her for sex on multiple occasions while she was working as his assistant and admitted to watching her naked without her knowledge.
Tambor vehemently denied the allegations in an official statement: “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.”
“‘Transparent’ and Amazon did their own investigations,” Shawkat said. “It’s being handled the way it’s being handled. It’s very…strange. I know a lot of actresses [who] work with people…this is happening to, [but] we don’t have personal understandings of it…And I worked with him on two shows, too, so it’s kind of following me around. I hope it’s all handled legally, the way it should be, and taken into consideration.”
The fifth season of “Arrested Development” finished filming late last year and will air on Netflix “later this year,” a Netflix spokesperson confirmed. No release date has been announced. Shawkat is the first “Arrested Development” cast member to speak out in support of Tambor’s accusers.
In late February, David Cross told amNY that members of the cast supported Tambor. “I can’t speak for everybody, but I know there are a number of us who stand behind him,” Cross said.
Shawkat said she found the situation “strange” and “sad.”
“I’m an actor, I worked with him,” she said. “It’s not about sharing my personal opinion of him…What those victims said needs to be heard just as much. And that’s the facts, that’s just the truth of it. And they can’t be squashed down because of something else. But it is also, you know, it is sad, too.”