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Netflix Canceled a Ton of Promo Events Because of Jeffrey Tambor

Months after several trans women came forward to accuse actor Jeffrey Tambor of sexual abuse on the set of the Amazon series Transparent, after which he was fired from his starring role, the actor is once again surrounded by controversy. Last week, The New York Times published an interview with the Arrested Development cast in which Jessica Walter herself (who plays Lucille Bluth) tearfully talked about Tambor’s alleged verbal abuse on set.

More: Jeffrey Tambor Is Officially Quitting Transparent

Now, Netflix has canceled a series of Arrested Development promotional events, which were scheduled to take place in the U.K. ahead of the series’ Season 5 premiere on May 29. “We had planned to have most of the Arrested Development cast in London this week to support the launch of the new season and meet fans,” Netflix said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter. “At this time we have decided not to move ahead with promotional activity in the U.K. but hope to bring the cast back at another time.”

The memo doesn’t specify why Netflix is canceling so many events, but the reasons seem obvious. After the Times published its interview on May 23, just six days ahead of the series’ new season premiere, Walter’s comments spread like wildfire — and rightfully so.

“Let me just say one thing that I just realized in this conversation,” Walter said. “I have to let go of being angry at him. He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever. Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. I have to let it go. 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.”

Walter’s costar, Jason Bateman, defended Tambor, saying that this was “part of his process”, which prompted significant backlash from social media users. Bateman took to Twitter to apologize for what he said during the interview, stating that he was wrong and “incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry.”

Tony Hale also spoke up for Tambor in the Times interview, saying, “We’ve all had moments … we’ve worked together 15 years, there has been other points of anger coming out.”

Walter responded,  “But not like that, not like that. That was bad.” According to Entertainment Tonight, Hale reached out to Walter to apologize.

In an interview with Gothamist, David Cross said he should have spoken up for Walter: “I didn’t speak up as much as I should have, and I regret it.”

Now that the cast is apologizing, canceling the U.K. press tour is potentially a step in the right direction for Netflix. Unfortunately, it also reads less as a serious attempt at solving the problem Netflix has created by keeping Tambor on its payroll than it does as a mere PR stunt to appease critics.

Netflix has had a rough go of it since Tarana Burke’s #MeToo movement became a viral hashtag last fall. The streaming giant fired actor Kevin Spacey from its hit series House of Cards — and nearly canceled the show altogether — after he was accused of sexual assault. However, the company then came under fire after executive Andy Yeatman allegedly told a woman who accused The Ranch star Danny Masterson of rape that the company flat-out didn’t believe her. Shortly after, they fired Masterson and Yeatman, but the debacle left a black mark on Netflix’s reputation.

More: 16 People Have Accused Morgan Freeman of Sexual Misconduct

It would seem Netflix is confused on its own policies about believing and standing up for victims of misconduct, sexual or otherwise. The lesson here, to be frank, is that we must believe trans women. Had Netflix followed Amazon and fired Tambor from Arrested Development months ago, the series could have continued on without him. Walter wouldn’t have to work with someone who allegedly verbally abused her on set. And the impact of the #MeToo movement would be more widely felt, especially among marginalized communities.

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