Van Barnes, Jeffrey Tambor’s former personal assistant,appeared on Megyn Kelly Today to outline harassment allegations she and others have madeagainst the former Transparent star.
“Continually, I was always harassed,” she told the Today host. “It ran the gamut of sexual harassment, physical harassment, and verbal abuse, constantly. This all really falls under the problem Hollywood has right now with this abuse of power and misogyny.”
Barnes appeared on the talk show Wednesday morning and detailed specific moments in which Tambor acted inappropriately, from lewd comments like, “Why haven’t we slept together?” to violations of privacy, including watching her sleep.
Barnes, a transgender woman, recalls asking Tambor to stop commenting on her body because she wasn’t comfortable with herself, to which he responded, “Well, I’m comfortable with your body.” When she pressed further, he admitted, “I’ve seen you naked.”
Barnes alleges that he insisted that he “needed somewhere to stay” in the beginning of their professional relationship. During the two weeks they stayed together, he reportedly admitted to Barnes that he watched her sleep naked.
“I would always deflect these comments because, I might be white and blonde, but I’m actually a minority female because I’m transgender,” Barnes said. “And so, breaking into the industry, it takes a lot of oomph. Not everyone is really open to having a transgender person working for them.”
Following Barnes’s accusations, Jeffrey Tambor was subsequently fired from the set of Transparent, leaving the fate of the show up in the air. On Wednesday morning, The Hollywood Reporter reported that production on the show has been scheduled to begin at the end of the year, likely December, meaning a new season of Transparent would not be airing this year. As of yet, it remains unclear if Tambor’s character, the central characterof the show, will be recast.
Despite Transparent’s groundbreaking material and hiring of transgender people on and off-camera, the Emmy-nominated show has been criticized for its casting of a cisgender male (Tambor) to play a trans woman in the leading role. If they decide to recast Tambor’s former role of Maura Pfefferman, hopefully they’ll give a transgender woman a shot.
Trace Lysette, a transgender actress on the show also accused Tambor of sexual misconduct last November. Last week, she penned an essay for Variety further outlining her allegations against the actor.
“I recall the magic being on set for Season 1 of Transparent. The trans inclusivity of our set was unparalleled at the time. For someone like me who came from living a complex and compartmentalized life of not fully embracing my trans identity out loud and proud, it was a very liberating place for me,” Lysette wrote. “This dream was tainted that day on set during season two. The world I came from was a world of hiding my transness; I had been liberated by this project only to be sexualized and victimized again.”
Tambor has vehemently denied all allegations throughout Amazon’s investigation. “I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations against me,” he said. “I am even more disappointed in Jill Soloway’s unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow cast mates. In our four-year history of working together on this incredible show, these accusations have NEVER been revealed or discussed directly with me or anyone at Amazon.”
Soloway has yet to speak directly on the matter, but expressed their “great respect and admiration” for Barnes and Lysette. “We are taking definitive action to ensure our workplace respects the safety and dignity of every individual, and are taking steps to heal as a family,” they said following the firing of Tambor from the show.