By Frank McGurty
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jeffrey Tambor, the Emmy-winning star of the Amazon web series “Transparent,” said on Sunday he did not see how he could return to the show next season after a second person leveled allegations of sexual harassment against him.
Actress Trace Lysette accused Tambor last week of making sexually charged remarks to her during their work together on the groundbreaking comedy series about a transgender character, as well as acting inappropriately during one alleged incident that “got physical.”
Lysette has appeared as a guest star in multiple episodes of the show’s four seasons, in which Tambor, 73, plays a retired professor in transition who tells his family about his longtime identification as a woman.
In a statement forwarded on Sunday by his publicist, Tambor said he would never have intentionally harassed anyone and regretted if any of his actions were misinterpreted as such.
“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,” he wrote. “Given the politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don’t see how I can return to “Transparent.”
Tambor did not explicitly say in the statement he would not return for a fifth season.
In August while receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Tambor, who has a long list of television and movie credits including “Arrested Development” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” called his “Transparent” role “an opportunity of a lifetime, and the responsibility of a lifetime.”
Amazon declined comment. A representative for Lysette did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The issue of sexual harassment is particularly sensitive at Amazon given that Amazon Studios President Roy Price resigned last month following allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior from multiple women.
Tambor is one of the latest figures in entertainment or politics to be accused in recent weeks of sexual harassment or misconduct. The wave of allegations, sometimes decades old, has reinvigorated a national dialogue over the issue of sex and the dynamics of power in the workplace.
Amazon had already been investigating allegations of harassment leveled against Tambor by his former assistant on the show, Van Barnes. It said it would widen the probe to include Lysette’s allegations.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Lysette said that Tambor had made “many sexual advances and remarks at me, but one time it got physical.”
She described an incident that allegedly occurred during Season 2 of “Transparent,” in which she and Tambor were dressed in thin pajamas in a corner of the set.
“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,” the statement read. “I felt his penis against my hip through his thin pajamas and I pushed him off me.”
Tambor specifically denied the allegations in a statement last week to Variety, writing that he has “never been a predator — ever.”
(Additional reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington and Jill Sergeant in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)