Filmmaker, actress, and writer Amber Tamblyn recently addressed the racism allegation made against her husband, David Cross, while she appeared on NPR’s “It’s Been a Minute” with host Sam Sanders. Cross was accused of being racist toward comedian Charlyne Yi in a Twitter thread posted by Yi last October. Tamblyn admitted Yi was not wrong to accuse her husband based on his behavior and said she helped Cross to learn his lesson and to realize he needed a change in perspective.
“He was rightfully accused of doing something racist to the comedian, Charlyne Yi,” Tamblyn said. “You know I think the jokes that work for white guys and their white guy comedian friends don’t work, always, for women of color.”
According to Yi, Cross made fun of her tattered pants when they first met. When she chose to ignore him, Cross responded, “What’s a matter? You don’t speak English? Ching-chong-ching-chong.” He then asked the comedian whether or not she would fight karate with him. Cross first responded to Yi’s accusation by saying he was in character as a “southern redneck” at the time.
Tamblyn told NPR Cross’ “eyes are open to [his mistake], if they weren’t before.” The actress and writer continued by saying while “some men don’t change,” Cross is different and was willing to confront his own behavior, realize the problem with it, and work on not making the same mistake. Tamblyn said the same mentality applied to Cross after the infamous “Arrested Development” interview where the show’s male cast members spoke over Jessica Walter.
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“The thing I can say about David, that I love so much about him, is that he changes,” Tamblyn said. “And part of his introspection and his sensitivity is that he’s aware of that. And I think, same thing goes for the talking over Jessica Walter incident that happened recently. The ‘Arrested Development’ press tour. I think it was a similar experience where it’s just a continual sense of getting them to open their eyes and getting them to see either how they’re helping or they’re not helping.”
Tamblyn said the best thing she could do in each situation was to help Cross see the error of his ways. The actress revealed the couple received “death threats” following the incidents and said she was publicly confronted for not speaking publicly about her husband’s behavior. Many social media users questioned Tamblyn’s involvement with being an outspoken Time’s Up and #MeToo advocate despite her husband’s behavior. Tamblyn said she dealt with her husband’s behavior in private.
“It was really difficult for our family,” Tamblyn said. “We got death threats and women were coming after me and telling me, ‘Oh, you can’t be the head of a movement and not speak to this.’ I really hold a strong boundary with this and believe I’ve earned the right to privacy. And if you care about my voice and what I have to say at all and you think you know me, then you better assume that I’m having really difficult conversations with my husband about it. Just like all women are.”
Tamblyn is making the press rounds in support of her new book, “Any Man.” You can click here to listen to her full NPR interview with Sam Sanders on the latest episode of “It’s Been a Minute.”