Actor Jeffrey Tambor says he will not return for the fifth season of Amazon's "Transparent," after being accused of sexually harassing his former assistant and one of the show's semi-regular guests, transgender actress Trace Lysette.
Tambor, who plays the eponymous "trans parent" of Transparent, Maura Pfefferman, says the "political atmosphere" surrounding the allegations has made it impossible for him to continue with the cast, Deadline reports.
"Playing Maura Pfefferman on Transparent has been one of the greatest privileges and creative experiences of my life," Tambor told Deadline Sunday. "What has become clear over the past weeks, however, is that this is no longer the job I signed up for four years ago."
"I've already made clear my deep regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being aggressive, but the idea that I would deliberately harass anyone is simply and utterly untrue," Tambor continued. "Given the politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don’t see how I can return to Transparent."
While the show, Transparent, has been hailed as a groundbreaking look at the reality of transitioning gender, and how it impacts a nuclear family, and Tambor has won several Emmy awards — and plenty of Hollywood accolades — for his own revolutionary portrayal of a man who undergoes a late-in-life transition, Tambor stands accused of harassing some of the show's actual transgender cast and crew members.
According to Deadline, which first reported the allegations last month, Tambor's former assistant, transgender actress Van Barnes, accused the actor of making lewd and inappropriate remarks, and groping her while the two were in private. A second transgender actress, Tambor's "Transparent" sometimes co-star Trace Lysette, told the Hollywood magazine that Tambor had made "lewd, sexual and unwelcomed remarks" to her while they worked together on the show.
Tambor vehemently denies both actress' allegations, but the writing team at "Transparent" was so concerned that the actor was making the set an unsafe space that they were already considering writing him out of the show's fifth season, which won't air on Amazon until next year.
It seems he just made the decision for them.