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“Transparent” creator Jill Soloway struggled for months to find a way forward with or without her Emmy winning star Jeffrey Tambor and address the concerns of a politically passionate core audience, TheWrap has learned. The actor was fired by studio Amazon on Thursday.
Tambor’s dismissal is a move that echoes that of numerous Hollywood men who stand accused of inappropriate workplace behavior — which Tambor vehemently denies — but Soloway hoped for a scenario that would satisfy his accusers and allow him to finish his work as trans matriarch Maura Pfefferman, numerous insiders said.
As recently as last week, Soloway was seeking “a third way” through a crisis so many in show business have recently faced, one of the individuals told TheWrap. Amazon instructed Soloway and her writers room to prepare for several outcomes, a second insider said, including storylines that would exclude Tambor’s character entirely or phase him out as early as the upcoming season’s third episode.
Having Tambor appear only in flashbacks as his pre-transition character Mort Pfefferman was also discussed, given the increased pressure on Hollywood to stop casting cisgender actors in trans roles, the individual added.
Representatives for Tambor and Soloway did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the matter, nor did Amazon Studios spokespeople.
Tambor was accused in November of harassing two trans women on the “Transparent” set, including costar Trace Lysette and his personal assistant Van Jones. A third woman unrelated to the production later came forward, makeup artist Tamara Delbridge.
While Soloway was empowered creatively during the crisis, the contents of Amazon’s investigation ultimately led them to fire Tambor on Wednesday, the insider said. Soloway does not know what was discovered in the investigation, they said.
News of Tambor’s firing leaked Thursday before the full cast had been informed. Soloway praised the decision and the accusers for their “courage in speaking out” as “an example of the leadership this moment in our culture requires.”
Tambor issued a blistering response that blasted the studio as “biased” and specifically called out Soloway.
“I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations against me. 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,” Tambor said in a statement.
“I can only surmise that the investigation against me was deeply flawed and biased toward the toxic politicized atmosphere that afflicted our set,” he added.
Soloway has a legacy at stake when it comes to “Transparent.” The drama was not only the first original streaming series for Amazon, it evolved the portrayal of trans people and explored intersectional identities through the filter of a family drama. She’s won two Primetime Emmys for directing the series, and Tambor has two Emmys in the best actor category for playing Maura.
That she would seek a “third way” to remedy the misconduct claims would also have been groundbreaking, as many in Hollywood have complained that responses have been extreme to any accusation of sexual misconduct, no matter how unproven or relatively slight, since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last October.
Kevin Spacey was written out of his Netflix drama “House of Cards” and replaced in the film “All the Money in the World.” HBO took a wait-and-see approach with James Franco, who will return to his series “The Deuce” after he was accused of abusing actresses on the set of an indie film he directed. The accusations against both actors differ greatly, of course, but the responses stand.
It’s unclear what direction the show will go in, though the writers room will be active in the coming days and the show is still eyeing a September premiere