Jason Bateman apologises after appearing to defend Jeffrey Tambor

Their 'Arrested Development' co-star Jessica Walter has accused Tambor of "verbally harassing" her

Jason Bateman has apologised after he appeared to defend his Arrested Development co-star Jeffrey Tambor in an interview.

Jessica Walter, who plays Lucille Bluth in the show, has said Tambor “verbally harassed” her on set. He has also faced a series of sexual harassment allegations relating to his time on Amazon series Transparent. Personal assistant Van Barnes and co-star Trace Lysette have both levelled accusations against Tambor. Walter has confirmed that the incident she has described was not of a sexual nature. 

Speaking to The New York Times, Bateman seemed to try and defend Tambor in relation to Walter’s claims, saying that “certain people have certain processes”.

“Not to belittle what happened,” Bateman said, “but this is a family, and families, you know, have love, laughter, arguments. Again, not to belittle it, but a lot of stuff happens in 15 years.”

He returned to the subject later in the interview, adding: “Again, 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”. It’s a weird thing, and it is a breeding ground for atypical behaviour, and certain people have certain processes.”

After co-star Alia Shawkat pointed out that that didn’t “mean it’s acceptable”, Bateman replied: “What we do for a living is not normal, and therefore the process is not normal sometimes, and to expect it to be normal is to not understand what happens on set. Again, not to excuse it Alia, but to be surprised by people having a wobbly route to their goal, their process – it’s very rarely predictable.

“Not to say that you [Walter] had it coming,” he continued. “But this is not in a vacuum – families come together and certain dynamics collide and clash every once in a while. And there’s all kinds of things that go into the stew so it’s a little narrow to single that one particular thing that is getting attention from our show.”

Since the comments were made public, Bateman has been the subject of a huge backlash. He later apologised, saying he was “horrified” that he wasn’t more aware of how the incident had affected Walter. “Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realise that I was wrong here,” he wrote on Twitter. “I sound like I’m condoning yelling at work. I do not.

“It sounds like I’m excusing Jeffrey. I do not. It sounds like I’m insensitive to Jessica. I am not. I was so eager to let Jeffrey know that he was supposed in his attempt to learn, grow and apologise and I completely underestimated the feelings of the victim, another person I deeply love – and she was sitting right there!”

He added that he was “incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry”, calling it a “big learning moment”. “I shouldn’t have tried so hard to mansplain, or fix a fight, or make everything okay,” he said. “There’s never any excuse for abuse, in any form, from any gender. And the victim’s voice needs to be heard and respected. Period.”

Arrested Development will return for its fifth series on May 29. The new episodes will be available via Netflix.