10:56am PT by Jackie Strause
Alia Shawkat Says Jeffrey Tambor Accusers Deserve to Be Heard
As part of the ensemble casts of both Transparent and Arrested Development, Alia Shawkat says the sexual misconduct accusations against her co-star Jeffrey Tambor have been following her around. When premiering her film Duck Butter at the Tribeca Film Festival, the actress became the first from the Arrested Development cast to come out in support of Tambor's accusers.
“I was surprised, obviously. I’ve known him since I was very young,” Shawkat told IndieWire on Monday. “I support the voices of the victims, though, whatever they said.”
After sexual harassment claims were lodged by two of Tambor's colleagues in the fall, Amazon announced that the actor would not be returning to his Emmy-winning role as Maura Pfefferman for the forthcoming fifth season of Transparent, which is set to return in 2019. Tambor, who leads the show as the transgender character, was accused of acting inappropriately by his former assistant, Van Barnes, and co-star Trace Lysette.
Despite his firing from the Jill Soloway-helmed series, Netflix has not commented about Tambor's role in the upcoming fifth season of the Bluth family comedy Arrested Development, which is expected to premiere later this year (a date has yet to be announced). Two of Tambor's Arrested co-stars, David Cross and Jason Bateman, have since voiced their support for the actor who plays George Bluth Sr. and Oscar Bluth. Bateman told The Hollywood Reporter that he will "always love [Tambor]" and Cross spoke for others when he said the majority of the cast is standing behind Tambor.
Shawkat, who has appeared on Arrested Development with Tambor since she was 14 in the role of Maeby Funke, called the situation "strange" and "sad."
“I’m an actor, I worked with him. It’s not about sharing my personal opinion of him," she said. "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.”
Amazon's decision to part ways with Tambor came after it launched an internal investigation last year. Tambor said he was "profoundly disappointed" in the company's handling of the situation, claiming that the accusations have "never been revealed or discussed directly with me or anyone at Amazon."
Continued Shawkat: "Transparent and Amazon did their own investigations. ... It’s being handled the way it’s being handled. It’s very…strange. I know a lot of actresses [who] work with people [that] 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."
Shawkat joined Transparent during the most recent fourth season. Filming on the forthcoming season of Arrested Development had wrapped before Amazon fired Tambor.