Jeffrey Tambor's Response To New Sexual Misconduct Allegation Is So Offensive To Sexual Violence Victims
Last week, Jeffrey Tambor's former assistant Van Barnes accused the Transparent star of sexual harassment, prompting an internal investigation at Amazon, as reported by Vanity Fair.
Today, Tambor's Transparent co-star Trace Lysette publicly accused him of sexual harassment and assault, Deadline reports.
Lysette's descriptions of Tambor's behaviour closely mirror those provided by Barnes.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lysette says Tambor made sexually inappropriate remarks to her and later physically assaulted her: "He came in close, put his bare feet on top of mine so I could not move, leaned his body against me, and began quick, discreet thrust back and forth against my body. I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pyjamas," Lysette said.
Tambor, who described Barnes' accusations as "baseless" and referred to her as "a disgruntled former employee of mine," has now responded to Lysette's allegation and we hope you're sitting down because his comments are infuriating.
“For the past four years, I’ve had the huge privilege — and huge responsibility – of playing Maura Pfefferman, a transgender woman, in a show that I know has had an enormous, positive impact on a community that has been too long dismissed and misunderstood,” Tambor said Thursday in a statement obtained by Deadline. (Both his alleged victims are transgender women.)
"I know I haven’t always been the easiest person to work with. I can be volatile and ill-tempered, and too often I express my opinions harshly and without tact. But I have never been a predator — ever. I am deeply sorry if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being sexually aggressive or if I ever offended or hurt anyone. But the fact is, for all my flaws, I am not a predator and the idea that someone might see me in that way is more distressing than I can express," Tambor concluded.
First of all, as George Costanza would say, Tambor can stuff his sorries in a sack because this statement isn't an apology in any way, shape, or form. Secondly, the statement sends the deeply problematic message to all sexual violence survivors that we're overreacting, we "misinterpreted" a man's intentions, and we should simply give them the benefit of the doubt because they're too clueless to know what types of behaviour are inappropriate.
No, Jeffrey Tambor, sexual violence victims don't "misinterpret" the actions of men who grab us, grope us, and worse. It's also worth noting that there's no sentence in today's lengthy statement in which Tambor denies the account provided by Lysette — and, to be abundantly clear, the behaviour she describes is sexual assault.
Sexual predators gaslight victims by using tactics and rhetoric that's eerily similar to what Tambor said today. In addition to trying to convince people that their actions were "a misunderstanding," they also glorify themselves, which is what Tambor is doing when he presents himself as an ally to the transgender community. This seems like an effort to tell his alleged victims that they should be grateful for his "positive impact" on their community. Furthermore, he plays victim by saying "the idea that someone might see me [as a predator] is more distressing than I can express."
Could there possibly be anything more distressing? Yeah, I can think of a few things — one of which is being sexually harassed or assaulted, and then being told that you simply misinterpreted the situation and that the real problem is you.