8:25am PT by Jackie Strause
Jeffrey Tambor Issues 'Transparent' Apology: "I Never Intended to Make Anyone Feel Uncomfortable"
Jeffrey Tambor is reflecting on his much-discussed departure from Transparent, the groundbreaking Amazon series that starred the actor in a transgender role for four seasons before wrapping without him in the fall.
"I have profoundly apologized and I apologize," the actor says in a new interview with Gilbert Gottfried and Frank Santopadre for Gilbert Gottfried’s Colossal Show on SiriusXM, noting the rarity of him opening up about the unceremonious exit, "if I made anyone, anyone feel vulnerable, and I'm sorry."
Tambor was fired from Jill Soloway's Emmy-winning family drama over sexual misconduct claims at the height of the #MeToo movement in early 2018. The accusations from two trans women, including on-set claims from co-star Trace Lysette, threw Transparent into a hiatus until Soloway and her crew decided when and how to wrap the series — which came in the form of a feature-length musical sendoff that released in September.
In a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Tambor had denied the claims but admitted he was "difficult" on set. "I drove myself and my castmates crazy. Lines got blurred," he said at the time. When speaking about the sendoff to the series — which paid tribute to Tambor's character, Maura Pfefferman, without his involvement — creator Soloway told THR that, more than a year later, what happened was "still painful, what we went through as a family. We went through so much pain, but to be able to express a journey this directly and have the kind of space that Amazon has given me. … I often look at my career and think I am so lucky."
Now, speaking to Gottfried and Santopadre, Tambor opens up about his time on the series, while apologizing to the cast and crew. Before the allegations against Tambor, Soloway had spoken about a multiple-season plan and perhaps going on with the series for 10 years.
"I just want to make it really, really clear for your listeners out there that I'm not this guy. I in no way ever, ever intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable," he says. "This cast was amazing. It was sort of raucous. It was wonderful and irreverent and loving and personal. We told personal stories and I got to be Jeffrey and I got to play Maura and it was vital for the [LGBTQ] community, I'm so proud of it."
Soloway's Transparent put Amazon on the map with the streamer's third original scripted series and went on to earn years of critical praise. Tambor won two Emmys for his portrayal as Maura, a 70-year-old parent who comes out as a transgender woman to her family.
"Regarding how I left the show," Tambor now says, "I just want to say, I never, ever, ever, ever intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, ever. My wife is here and, you know, I have character defects — and she has the list of that where you're going to distribute. But this, we loved each other. We were irreverent. We were honest. We were vulnerable. We had stories that were very, very personal. We trusted one another. It was a set like no other. And there had to be, of course, instances where my interaction would be with these lovely people, could have been mistaken way other, way other, than how I intended."
He continued, "I'm sorry it ended the way it did, but I have to say it, I'm so proud of playing Maura and part of the LGBT community and getting that important message out, and it's a highlight of my life and I just can't let the day go short and I can't leave this studio without saying something."