Jeffrey Tambor recently announced that he's leaving Transparent due to sexual misconduct allegations, although he still denies any wrongdoing. Deadline reports that both of his accusers worked on the show: Van Barnes, his former assistant, accused Tambor of sexual harassment, and co-star Trace Lysette says he sexually assaulted her.
Now, a celebrity makeup artist with no connection to Transparent has come forward and shared her own story about Tambor.
In an exclusive interview with Refinery29, Tamara Delbridge says that Tambor forcibly kissed her in 2001 on the set of the film Never Again. As a makeup assistant, the job marked Delbridge's first big break in the industry.
"It was really weird because I did not interact with him at all during filming," Delbridge says. "It wasn’t like he and I had bantered back and forth or flirted. I'm very professional on set and [Never Again] was a really big deal for me. It was the first time that I’d worked with actors at that level," she adds, noting that she was given the opportunity to do makeup for the likes of Jill Clayburgh, Bill Duke, and Sandy Duncan.
Delbridge says the incident occurred on the last day of the shoot. "I said [to Tambor], 'It was very nice to work with you' and he grabbed me out of nowhere and kissed me on the lips. And I was just shocked. I didn’t even know how to react, because how do you react when you’re not expecting anything like that? So I didn’t know if I was embarrassed or shocked or mortified or stunned. It was a whole bunch of emotions."
As she walked away, Delbridge says she tried to understand why Tambor had done this and wondered if she'd accidentally come across as flirtatious. According to Delbridge, Bill Duke witnessed the incident and and assured Delbridge that she'd done nothing wrong.
"Bill Duke stopped me and he said 'that was inappropriate.' In my mind he just confirmed that I didn’t do anything to provoke it," Delbridge says. "I don't know why [Tambor] did that to me. But an older, prominent actor violated me and then another older, prominent actor let me know that it was inappropriate. So I think it's important to add because I will appreciate Bill Duke until the day I die. I was new and he didn't turn his back...He made it a point to let me know that what happened wasn't acceptable." Delbridge says she doesn't know whether or not Duke confronted Tambor about the incident.
Tambor addressed Delbridge's allegations via an emailed statement to Refinery29: "I have absolutely no recollection of anything like this incident ever happening. If it did, it wasn’t meant as anything more than an enthusiastic farewell and gratitude for a job well done at the end of a shoot. However, I am deeply sorry for any discomfort or offense I may have inadvertently caused her."
Delbridge says she was compelled to speak out when she read that Tambor had described Barnes' allegation as "baseless." Although she's nervous about speaking publicly for the first time, she hopes her story will "help prove that [Barnes and Lysette] aren't lying."
"His response made me really angry. I was like 'it's not baseless,'" she says. "This isn't a man-bashing thing. It's about a person who did something inappropriate and he’s not acknowledging that he did it. And the word 'baseless' is really like him just flipping it off and saying that’s nothing. And it’s not nothing, because this is a pattern."
Bill Duke was not available for comment at this time.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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