In an apparent shift from previous statements, Jeffrey Tambor has now said he is planning to return to Transparent.
A representative for Tambor recently told the New York Times that, despite being investigated for sexual misbehavior against two women on the set of the Emmy-winning series, he has “no plans to quit.”
Tambor had originally said, in the wake of the allegations, that he “didn’t see how [he] can return,” prompting many critics to suggest replacing Tambor with a transgender actress. This, of course, would have kept the show alive while doing even more to further its progressive agenda. As the show’s production schedule remains in limbo, however, Tambor’s statement indicates that he may be on good terms with Amazon.
Jill Soloway, the gender non-binary showrunner of Transparent who famously shouted “topple the patriarchy” when they won a directing Emmy in 2016, recently admitted, following the second of three allegations against Tambor, that “even in the safest of sets where there were people who were really thinking constantly about, ‘how do we make sure we’re heart-connected at work,’ things happened, or things may have happened.”
Soloway had previously been well-known for their “utopia”-like set, which made the allegations of Tambor’s on-set behavior all the more shocking. Over the years, Soloway had filled their cast and crew with over 60 transgender and gender non-binary writers, actors, crew members, and countless more extras, and had spearheaded programs to teach staff members how to speak to and refer to transgender issues. Writing rooms often nurtured frank conversations about sex and masturbation, and the show’s welcoming feel even extended to its lighting design. As we reported, cinematographer Jim Frohna created a lighting design “unbound by space and time” by encouraging actors to move around freely on set without any hindrance from hanging lights and stray gear.
At this point, if Amazon and Jill Soloway were to keep Tambor as the lead actor of Transparent, it would run contrary to their progressive reputation. Tambor has now been accused by three different women on two different sets of sexual misbehavior, and transgender critics across the board have called for the show to continue without him. We can only hope that they ultimately make the right move.