Jason Bateman Apologizes to ‘Arrested Development’ Co-Star Jessica Walter for Mansplaining


While fans of Arrested Development have been awwaiting the show’s Season 5 return to Netflix, the cast has been on a press tour that, until May 23, had been going quite smoothly.

In an interview with The New York Times, the cast sat down to discuss the upcoming episodes and more, including Jeffrey Tambor‘s behavior on set in the wake of his Transparent firing. The New York Times even asked actress Jessica Walter about alleged verbal harassment from Tambor.

“Not to belittle it or excuse it or anything, but in the entertainment industry it is incredibly common to have people who are, ‘difficult,'” Jason Bateman said of his co-star’s alleged behavior. Readers took this statement as dismissive of what was being said about Walter and Tambor’s working relationship.

After Bateman’s comments, Alia Shawkat who plays Maeby Fünke, tried to defend Walter, saying, “But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. And the point is that things are changing, and people need to respect each other differently.”

Walter chimed in during the emotional moment, “Let me just say one thing that I just realized in this conversation. I have to let go of being angry at him. He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever,” she said. “Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. I have to let it go. And I have to give [him] a chance to, you know, for us to be friends again.”

Tambor agreed with Walter, but she wasn’t finished as she continued to say, “But it’s hard because, honestly — Jason says this happens all the time. In like 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 just let it go right here, for The New York Times.”

As soon as this interview was released, fans grew angry with Bateman and his apparent lack of empathy for Walter, as he chose to instead defend Tambor. After hours of online backlash, the actor finally made a statement via Twitter.

“Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here,” wrote Bateman. “I sound like I’m condoning yelling at work. I do not. It sounds like I’m excusing Jeffery[sic]. I do not. It sounds like I’m insensitive to Jessica. I am not. In fact, I’m horrified that I wasn’t more aware of how this incident affected her.”

“I was so eager to let Jeffrey know that he was supported in his attempt to learn, grow and apologize that I completely underestimated the feelings of the victim, another person I deeply love – and she was sitting right there! I’m incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry to have done that to Jessica,” he continued. “This is a big learning moment for me. I shouldn’t have tried so hard to mansplain, or fix a fight, or make everything okay.”

“I should’ve focused more on what the most important part of it all is – there’s never any excuse for abuse, in any form, from any gender,” Bateman went on. “And, the victim’s voice needs to be heard and respected. Period. I didn’t say that and instead said a bunch of other stuff and not very well. I deeply, and sincerely, apologize.”

Bateman isn’t the only Bluth family member to have apologized to Walters since the interview, Tony Hale who plays momma’s boy Buster Bluth tweeted his own statement in response to the piece.

Arrested Development returns to Netflix at the end of the month, five years after the fourth season was released in 2013.

Arrested Development, Season 5 Premiere, Tuesday, May 29, Netflix