Update (May 24, 2018, at 11:20 a.m.):
Tony Hale has issued an apology for his actions during the same New York Times interview.
"I have reached out to Jessica personally to apologize. Arrested Development is one of my families. Regardless of my intentions, it is clear that my words, both said and unsaid, served to minimize Jessica’s pain and for that I am extremely sorry," Hale wrote on Twitter.
Original story follows.
Thursday morning, Jason Bateman issued an apology for his statements during a controversial New York Times interview with the cast of Arrested Development. In the interview, Bateman made several attempts to explain or condone an incident that happen on the Arrested Development set between Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walters.
"Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here," Bateman wrote on Twitter. "I sound like I’m condoning yelling at work. I do not. It sounds like I’m excusing Jeffery. I do not. It sounds like I’m insensitive to Jessica. I am not."
He added, "In fact, I'm...horrified that I wasn’t more aware of how this incident affected her."
Bateman explained that in his eagerness to support costar Jeffrey Tambor, who has been accused of sexual harassment and verbal abuse on the set of Amazon series Transparent, he forgot to extend consideration to Walters.
"I’m incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry to have done that to Jessica. This is a big learning moment for me. I shouldn’t have tried so hard to mansplain, or fix a fight, or make everything okay," Bateman concluded.
The incident in question occurred on the Arrested Development set years ago. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month, Tambor brought up the incident, which he described as a "blowup" for which he "profusely apologized." Walters declined to comment for the THR interview. But, in the group interview for the Times, the cast of the show attempted to address the abuse which appears to be vividly clear in everyone's memory.
"Not to belittle it or excuse it or anything, but in the entertainment industry it is incredibly common to have people who are, in quotes, 'difficult,'" Bateman said. He explained it away thusly: "It’s a very amorphous process, this sort of shit that we do, you know, making up fake life. It’s a weird thing, and it is a breeding ground for atypical behavior and certain people have certain processes." Bateman appeared to be trying to excuse or condone Tambor's behavior during the incident. (It's still not clear what happened, but it seems clear Tambor yelled at Walters in a way that was excessive and unnecessary.)
Later in the interview, Walters tearfully addressed the incident herself. She said she had to "let it go" and allow Tambor to be her friend again. But, after Walters "let it go," she added, "It’s hard because honestly — Jason says this happens all the time. In like almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set." The Times has released the audio of this exchange.
Tony Hale, who plays Buster Bluth on Arrested Development, piped in, noting, "We’ve all had moments."
At which point, Walters pushed back, saying, "But not like that, not like that. That was bad."
At other points, the men of Arrested Development pushed back at Walters for claiming what Tambor did to her was excessive. Following the publication of the interview, Bateman has received the most heat for his lengthy explanation of "this sort of shit that we do." In his efforts to explain away Tambor's behavior, he also explained the entertainment industry. Ironically, while trying to promote his allegedly abusive costar, he pointed to one of the industry's biggest flaws: it excuses abuse in the face of so-called "genius." In entertainment, all people are means to a very profitable end. If a good season of Arrested Development came out of it, what does it matter if a few feelings get hurt?
Refinery29 has reached out to Walters for comment. Read Bateman's full apology, below.
Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here.— Jason Bateman (@batemanjason) May 24, 2018
I sound like I’m condoning yelling at work. I do not.
It sounds like I’m excusing Jeffery. I do not.
It sounds like I’m insensitive to Jessica. I am not.
In fact, I’m-
- horrified that I wasn’t more aware of how this incident affected her.— Jason Bateman (@batemanjason) May 24, 2018
I was so eager to let Jeffrey know that he was supported in his attempt to learn, grow and apologize that I completely underestimated the feelings of the victim, another person I deeply love - and she was..
... sitting right there!— Jason Bateman (@batemanjason) May 24, 2018
I’m incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry to have done that to Jessica. This is a big learning moment for me.
I shouldn’t have tried so hard to mansplain, or fix a fight, or make everything okay.
I should’ve focused more on what the most important...
...part of it all is - there’s never any excuse for abuse, in any form, from any gender. And, the victim’s voice needs to be heard and respected.— Jason Bateman (@batemanjason) May 24, 2018
I didn’t say that and instead said a bunch of other stuff and not very well.
I deeply, and sincerely, apologize.