We’ll Print Van Barnes’ Attorney’s Statement on Jeffrey Tambor in Its Entirety—Even If The Today Show Won’t
Yesterday, The Today Show reported on a recent interview Jeffrey Tambor gave The Hollywood Reporter post-ousting from the Amazon show, Transparent, following allegations of sexual harassment from two women on that set. Today approached the attorney for one of those women for a statement, and it was given under the express condition that it be used in its entirety. They did not. So, we will.
We here at TMS saw the THR interview with Tambor, the first in which he directly addressed his firing, on Monday. This was our collective reaction:
We couldn’t believe that THR—as has apparently become their habit—gave him this soft-pedal interview after an internal investigation at Amazon found enough evidence that the allegations of sexual harassment against him had merit that they chose to fire him. As Jezebel points out:
THR’s coverage of the #MeToo moment has been frequently sympathetic towards the men exposed for sexual harassment and assault, including, somehow, Harvey Weinstein, who it described in a profile as “complex” and “opaque” and who it took pains to point out had a mean, “hovering” mom. A November piece that mentioned Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and James Toback—all men with years of harassment and assault allegations against them—wondered if a “Hollywood witch hunt” was brewing. Its coverage of the Weinstein scandal managed to elide the women reporters who helped break it, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey of the New York Times, in favor of a breathless and glowing piece on Ronan Farrow.
Well, let’s go ahead and add The Today Show (who’ve obviously had their own problems in this arena) to the list of media outlets interested in coddling men accused of crimes, rather than treating them like grown-ass adults capable of dealing with consequences of their actions.
Yesterday, they reported on the Tambor interview and spent a lot of time on its contents, and Tambor’s side of the story. Fair enough. The topic of the segment was the interview. Understandable that it would get a bulk of the focus.
However, they feigned due diligence and reached out to Alana Chazan, attorney for Van Barnes (who, along with actress Trace Lysette, accused Tambor of harassment), for a statement on the interview.
Chazan provided one, with the stipulation that it be used in its entirety. However, what you see in the above image is the one sentence they used from the statement. This is after they spent a majority of their nearly three-minute segment rehashing quotes from the lengthy THR interview that anyone can just go read if they want.
I’ll remind you that Tambor is a man who was fired after an investigation into sexual harassment claims against him were proven to have merit. Him they give the column inches and air time. So, in a public Facebook post, Chazan spoke out on behalf of Ms. Barnes, telling the public both what happened with Today, and posting the statement in full. And so we post it here for you:
For those who can’t see the FB post, the statement on the interview reads:
“The absurd narrative being pushed that Mr. Tambor’s firing from the show Transparent was due to an imaginary “coup” by a cabal of transgender women, relies on the patriarchal assumption that women, and especially transgender women, are inherently deceptive. It is exactly this false narrative that continues to allow Hollywood to exclude and justify violence against women, particularly LGBTQ women and women of color, without making any substantive changes.
Ms. Van Barnes’ claims of sexual harassment have already been investigated and substantiated. It is disheartening to see how Amazon and the producers of Transparent not only enabled Mr. Tambor’s violent behavior for several years but were also complicit in attempting to whitewash it from the public. It is unfortunate that Mr. Tambor still cannot take accountability for his behavior and has instead chosen to frame himself as a “victim” of the #metoo movement.
We will continue to seek justice and real changes in Hollywood for marginalized communities sharing their truths.”
The narrative being encouraged by THR is indeed a transphobic one, and Today wasn’t much better. NBC News’ Joe Fryer felt the need to specify that the allegations against Tambor were made by “two transgender women who worked with him on the show.” He could’ve just said “two women who worked with him on the show,” or “two female colleagues,” but he didn’t.
In this particular narrative, it’s important to either sensationalize or warn about the fact that these aren’t just any women making these accusations (normal women? ‘real’ women?) These are transgender women. And it’s important you know that, because that could mean that they had other reasons for falsely accusing him, etc, etc. Indeed, Today includes THR’s report that it’s possible there was more behind the firing than the sexual harassment allegations.
Interesting, then, that the part of Chazan’s statement they chose to edit out was the very part that would refute this narrative. It’s almost as if they planned it that way.
Obviously, it’s no secret that Barnes and Lysette are trans, but if it’s going to come up in a news story, it should be in the context of the show (Transparent attempted to hire from the transgender community, Lysette is a trans woman playing a trans role), or of them telling their own stories, not of the accusations.
If these outlets can’t bring themselves to hold men accountable for their actions, be supportive of sexual harassment and assault survivors, and get it through their heads that trans women are women? Perhaps they should just sit out writing about the Me Too and Time’s Up movements all together.
(via Alana Chazan on Facebook, image: screencap)
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