Amber Tamblyn Talks Educating David Cross About Racism, #MeToo
The comedian was accused of offensive behavior toward Charlyne Yi and recently participated in an intense interview with his 'Arrested Development' co-stars, including Jeffrey Tambor, who was accused of sexual misconduct.
Amber Tamblyn has been an outspoken supporter of the Time's Up movement, but her husband, David Cross, was accused of racism toward Charlyne Yi in October 2017, and he recently participated in an intense interview with his Arrested Development co-stars, including Jeffrey Tambor, who was accused of sexual misconduct.
The actress spoke with NPR about the "difficult conversations" she's had with Cross about issues of racism and sexism in light of these incidents.
"Basically he was rightfully accused of doing something racist to the comedian, Charlyne Yi," Tamblyn told Sam Sanders. "I think the jokes that work for white guys and their white guy comedian friends don't work, always, for women of color."
The actress explained that she spoke with Cross many times about his actions. "His eyes are open to that now, if they weren't before. And this is what it took to have that change. Some men don't change," she said. "The thing I can say about David, that I love so much about him, is that he changes. And part of his introspection and his sensitivity is that he's aware of that."
Tamblyn then brought up the more recent claims made by Cross' Arrested Development co-star Jessica Walter against Jeffrey Tambor, who was accused of sexual harassment on the set of Transparent. In an interview with The New York Times, following up on something Tambor told The Hollywood Reporter, Walter talked about a past verbal altercation with Tambor, who plays her ex-husband on Arrested Development. "In almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set. And it’s hard to deal with, but I’m over it now," said Walter.
Bateman and some of the other, male Arrested Development stars, including Cross, quickly jumped in to defend Tambor. Bateman apologized after he was criticized for appearing to excuse Tambor's behavior toward Walter.
"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," said Tamblyn about changing her husband's perceptions on issues of racism and sexism.
Tamblyn explained that the best thing she could do for her husband was discuss where he went wrong. "I helped him to see. That's the best thing that you could do. And you know that was really difficult for our family," she 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," she said. "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."