Jeffrey Tambor is speaking out after a second trans woman has accused him of sexual harassment, following an earlier accusation from the “Transparent” star’s former assistant Van Barnes.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, trans actress Trace Lysette accuses Tambor of sexually harassing her while shooting a scene in which Lysette’s character — a yoga instructor — helps Tambor’s Maura Pfefferman on her journey to becoming a woman.
Lysette tells THR that when Tambor first saw her onset costumed in her yoga outfit, he said: “My God, Trace. I want to attack you sexually.” Lysette claims that actress Alexandra Billings (also a trans woman), who was also in the scene, heard the remark. However, says Lysette, she and Billings “laughed it off because it was so absurd.”
A few minutes later, Lysette was standing in the corner of the soundstage in between takes when she claims Tambor — still wearing his character’s grey wig and satin kimono — came up to 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 thrusts back and forth against my body. I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas,” Lysette claims.
Lysette (pictured below) says she pushed Tambor away and “rolled my eyes,” adding that although Billings was not present at this time, several members of the crew were nearby. However, she explains, “they were focused on their jobs. It was discreet. If you were behind Jeffrey you might have thought he was giving me a hug.”
Lysette’s accusations follow those of Van Barnes, a trans woman who worked as Tambor’s assistant.
Without identifying Tambor by name, Barnes wrote a Facebook post in which she vents about a former employer who told her that “I should be sleeping with him if I want a Hollywood industry appropriate pay grade” and “it wouldn’t take long, he pops quick.” She also claimed that the unnamed employer subjected her to “butt pats,” pornography played at loud volumes, and griped that she “was useless, could do nothing right.”
In an earlier statement, Tambor characterizes Barnes as “a former disgruntled assistant” and vehemently denies her claims, stating that he is “appalled and distressed by this baseless allegation.”
Despite Tambor’s denials, however, Amazon (which produces “Transparent”) is reportedly conducting an investigation into the matter.
In response to Lysette’s allegations, Tambor issued a second statement, one again proclaiming his innocence and insisting he has “never been a predator — ever.”
“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,” writes the actor.
“Now I find myself accused of behaviour that any civilized person would condemn unreservedly,” he continues. “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.”