David Cross says he regrets the comments he made during a recent “Arrested Development” cast interview with The New York Times in which he seemingly defended actor Jeffrey Tambor in regard to an allegation of verbal harassment levelled by co-star Jessica Walter.
“I will unequivocally apologize to Jessica. I’m sorry that we behaved the way we behaved,” Cross said in an interview which Gothamist published on Thursday.
During the Times Interview, Walter recounted an incident in which Tambor screamed at her on set during filming — a charge Tambor himself has admitted to and apologized for publically.
After an emotional Walter recounted her feelings of anger and hurt she said was caused by her long-time co-star, several other male members of the cast, including Jason Bateman and Tony Hale, made remarks that many felt defended Tambor’s actions, arguing that on-set outbursts are commonplace in Hollywood.
“I disagree with that,” Cross told Gothamist. “Well, there’s yelling and then there’s what Jeffrey did. Those are two different things.”
“It’s one thing to pop off a little bit, to let frustrations boil over, that happens in any workplace. If it had just been that, then it would have been not cool, but par for the course for where we were and what was happening,” he added. “I think what Jeffrey did was egregious and there was a little bit of cruelty to it, which I have a real issue with.”
Cross also said that, looking back on Tambor’s outburst, he wishes he had stood up for Walter during the incident.
“I didn’t speak up as much as I should have, and I regret it,” Cross said.
Describing the incident, Cross said it was “shocking” and “uncomfortable.”
“Nobody was happy, it wasn’t like, ‘Good, she got what was coming,’ none of that. It was the absolute wrong way to handle that situation in every respect,” Cross recalled. “Jeffrey apologized, but that was hours later. He made a big mea culpa to the cast and the crew, but the damage was done.”
“You just don’t treat people like that, I don’t care what’s going on,” he added. “If you hear yourself doing that, just stop. Have the discussion, but don’t do it in front of everybody in a humiliating way. It was humiliating.”
Bateman and Hale have subsequently released lengthy apologies on Twitter after receiving a torrential backlash of criticism. Cross said he decided to stop looking at Twitter on the advice of his wife, Amber Tamblyn.
“My wife is very good about getting me off of Twitter when I need to be,” Cross said. “So I don’t know exactly what’s going on. I do know the crux is that a lot of people are upset. And you know, I was in the room [during the Times interview], and I know that there’s an audiotape, and I’m assuming that it would make me cringe if I heard it.”
“Two people that I deeply respect, and I listen to and I love and appreciate, expressed to me after that interview their discomfort with it,” Cross said, referring to his wife and his “Arrested Development” co-star Alia Shawkat, who was one of the only cast members who spoke out in support of Walter during the Times interview. “I listened to them, and I can’t and wouldn’t ever dismiss their take on something. And they are also two people who are aware of the bigger picture. So, it means even more than it normally would, which is a lot.”
Tamblyn — who is a founding member of the Time’s Up movement and a vocal activist against harassment in Hollywood — was very clear about her feelings about her husband’s involvement in the controversial interview in a tweet on Thursday, admitting she’s mad at him over it, while at the same time defending him from media coverage of a faux-fight between Cross and Stephen Colbert on his Tuesday night appearance on “The Late Show”.
Meanwhile, during the now-infamous Times interview, Walter got emotional while addressing Tambor and her anger towards him over the years.
“I have to let go of being angry at him,” she said. “[In] almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set and it’s hard to deal with, but I’m over it now. I have to let go of being angry at him. He never crossed the line on our show, with any sexual whatever. Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. I have to let it go. I have to give you a chance for us to be friends again.”
Tambor was previously accused of sexual assault by his “Transparent” co-star, Trace Lysette, and former assistant, Van Barnes. He has denied the accusations and told ET he felt “great” earlier this month. Watch the video below to hear more.