During a heated New York Times interview with the cast of “Arrested Development” published yesterday, Jessica Walter was brought to tears as she recalled being verbally harassed by Jeffrey Tambor on the set of the acclaimed comedy. Tambor — who was fired from his leading role on “Transparent” after being accused of sexual harassment by two different people — received more support from his male castmates in the moments that followed than Walter did, leading to instant backlash online.
David Cross was part of the exchange, and in a discussion with Gothamist today revealed that his perspective was altered when two people he “deeply respects” told him it made them uncomfortable: Alia Shawkat and his wife. That led him to “unequivocally” apologize to Walter, refer to Tambor’s actions as “egregious,” and recall a time when Walter herself yelled at someone on set.
“I will unequivocally apologize to Jessica. I’m sorry that we behaved the way we behaved,” Cross said before turning his attention to Tambor.
“I think what Jeffrey did was egregious and there was a little bit of cruelty to it, which I have a real issue with…I’m not going to defend what Jeffrey did at all, because I would never do that. I’ve never seen anybody do that to that level and that’s just not right. There’s just no excuse for behaving like that,” he added.
Cross at several points expressed hesitation to speak too much on the situation lest he make it worse, alternating between apologetic and defensive. He was vague when it came to Walter’s apparent outburst: “To Jessica’s credit, she eventually apologized to the actress, and felt bad about it,” he said. “Jeffrey did as well, but it was a bigger deal, there were more people in the room and it was an extremely uncomfortable moment.”
Pressed for more detail, Cross appeared to imply that the incident involved a stand-in for Portia de Rossi. “To Jessica’s credit, she felt bad, she apologized. Portia [di Rossi] wasn’t around, so there was a stand-in for her for months and months and months, and there was this incident, but it didn’t have the same kind of feeling that Jeffrey’s did.”
After admitting that he was speculating, Cross added, “I don’t know whether or not Jeffrey would have done that to the male members of the cast. He didn’t have that relationship that he has with Jessica that he has with the male members of the cast, so that’s perhaps part of the difference.” Read his full interview here.