‘Silicon Valley’ bosses address TJ Miller’s departure and “white, male” cast

Creator compares real-life setting of Silicon Valley to Nazi Germany

The creators of Silicon Valley have addressed former star TJ Miller’s recent departure as well as accusations that the show has “too many white males”.

The fifth season of Silicon Valley premieres on HBO later this month. The show followers the founders of a start-up trying to make it in San Francisco’s famed Silicon Valley.

Actor TJ Miller portrayed Erlich Bachman for its first four seasons but left the show last year. Miller was later accused of sexually assaulting and punching a woman, which he denies.

Asked by The Hollywood Reporter about Miller’s exit, the show’s creator Mike Judge said the relationship with Miller “just wasn’t working” and that “it’s not fun to work with someone who doesn’t want to be there”.

Insiders hinted at Miller’s “demons”, telling THR that he would often arrive late to shoots, fall asleep between takes and generally be underprepared.

In response, Miller has denied that he was ever drunk or high on set, saying: “I was out doing stand-up all the time, even if it meant I only got three hours of sleep. So, the thing I have a problem with? It’s pushing myself to do too much.”

TJ Miller

TJ Miller

Judge has also addressed suggestions that the show has too much of a white, male cast, to which he compared the real-life setting of Silicon Valley to Nazi Germany.

“I was losing at the DGAs [Directors Guild Awards], and Amy Schumer makes this long speech about how, I don’t know, [there are] too many white males and all that, and saying that every show should be 50 percent people of colour,” Judge said.

“Well, if you’re doing a movie about Nazi Germany, you can’t do that,” he added. “And if you’re doing a TV show about tech that’s satire, you can’t do it.”

“I don’t think you do any service by pretending [Silicon Valley] is half female or half black,” he added. “And not to pin bouquets on ourselves here, but I think we brought some attention to the gender imbalance by doing this show.”

However, the show’s executive producer Alec Berg admitted that the topic was one that has been discussed regularly behind the scenes.

“We certainly aren’t like, ‘Oh, let’s not talk about [the gender imbalance]’,” Berg said. “We talk about it all the time.”

“The lack of hitting it head-on just comes down to the fact that we haven’t done a great job of finding the definitive satirical take on it.”

Silicon Valley returns to HBO on March 25.