Jason Bateman mansplains why he sounded so ‘insensitive’ to Jessica Walter

Jason Bateman Honored With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

It’s difficult to try to talk about someone just hours after you canceled them. Jason Bateman is trash. So are Tony Hale and David Cross and Will Arnett. Jeffrey Tambor is trash too, but the other men of Arrested Development were the ones doing THE MOST to defend Tambor while Jessica Walter wept and tried to tell her story of being verbally harassed and screamed at by Tambor. They talked over her, they minimized her experience, they caped for Tambor. I was mostly disappointed in Tony Hale, because I absolutely love him, but sorry, he’s over now. But many were mostly disappointed in Jason Bateman, and I understand why: he’s the guy on top of the call sheet. He’s the star of the show. He sets the tone. And the tone he sets is that women who are harassed and screamed at aren’t important. All that’s important is that an abuser’s “process” is respected. So Bateman heard that he was canceled, and now he’s issued a statement where he mansplains why he mansplained.

Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here.
I sound like I’m condoning yelling at work. I do not.
It sounds like I’m excusing Jeffery. I do not.
It sounds like I’m insensitive to Jessica. I am not.
In fact, I’m horrified that I wasn’t more aware of how this incident affected her.
I was so eager to let Jeffrey know that he was supported in his attempt to learn, grow and apologize that I completely underestimated the feelings of the victim, another person I deeply love – and she was sitting right there!
I’m incredibly embarrassed and deeply sorry to have done that to Jessica. This is a big learning moment for me.
I shouldn’t have tried so hard to mansplain, or fix a fight, or make everything okay.
I should’ve focused more on what the most important part of it all is – there’s never any excuse for abuse, in any form, from any gender. And, the victim’s voice needs to be heard and respected.
Period.

I didn’t say that and instead said a bunch of other stuff and not very well.
I deeply, and sincerely, apologize.

[From Jason Bateman’s Twitter]

I like how he keeps making these declarative-statement denials, like the NYT transcript wasn’t a f–king brutal mess for his image. “It sounds like I’m insensitive to Jessica. I am not.” Except you were insensitive to her. We all read it. “I was so eager to let Jeffrey know that he was supported in his attempt to learn, grow and apologize that I completely underestimated the feelings of the victim…” Because you weren’t f–king listening to her, you were too busy mansplaining an abuser’s PROCESS and minimizing her experience. But I’m glad Bateman got his “big learning moment.” Bitch, you’re still cancelled. You’re the star of a show, a 49-year-old man who has been working in the industry for more than three decades. You’re not some ingenue on a f–king learning curve. TIME’S UP.

Jason Bateman Honored With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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81 Responses to “Jason Bateman mansplains why he sounded so ‘insensitive’ to Jessica Walter”

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  1. aang says:

    I wonder how long Tambour’s behavior has been a problem? His entire career or the past 5 years or so? I always wonder with behavior changes in seniors if it is not the first stages of dementia or another disease. Not excusing him just wondering if it fits his personality or if it is new. I had an older family member who all of a sudden starting becoming belligerent and then eventually violent over the course of several yeas. Turned out to be the first symptoms of a slow growing brain tumor.

    • lucy2 says:

      I’ve been wondering that myself, if more people will feel emboldened to speak about him now. This kind of thing usually (not always, but usually) has a long history.

    • La says:

      Unless Jessica was only referring to the new seasons it has been going on for a long time. The first season of Arrested Development aired in something like 2003. Safe bet that he was always like this but people are finally able to call him on his shit.

    • Nicole says:

      Going to take a wild guess and say it was longer. Just like the rumors about Harvey and Singer and Spacey have been around for as long as I’ve been reading gossip columns. This isn’t new but the reckoning is. Makes men shake because they can no longer get away with this crap. Just like racist douchebags who are suddenly sorry for being racist after being exposed by the world. It’s not new but the world is holding them accountable.

    • Anastasia says:

      I suspect he’s always been an ass. It’s too bad, I used to really admire him as an actor. But he’s been canceled for me, ever since the Transparent stuff came out (and I LOVE that show).

    • Neelyo says:

      He’s been like this for a long time. When I lived in LA and encountered show biz types, I found that the meanest people were usually the ones at the level where Tambor’s career resided for a long time. Working steadily, familiar but not stars, so it’s not surprising that success just made him worse.

      Also I know someone who worked with him on a non show business project a few years ago and they said he was horrible.

  2. STRIPE says:

    “I was so eager to let Jeffrey know that he was supported in his attempt to learn, grow and apologize that I completely underestimated the feelings of the victim”

    That is a perfect encapsulation of what women go through on a daily basis.

      • outoftheshadows says:

        I don’t even want to give him credit for figuring that out, but it’s good that he did, and that he said so. At least other men can now understand how that happens.

      • Erinn says:

        outoftheshadows – I agree. It’s like “congrats on figuring out the exact problem with this that you should have understood to begin with”. It’s not good that he didn’t get it. But I appreciate that he’s at least acknowledged it and hoping he can take that to heart. It’s something, I guess. We’ll see how he acts going forward, I guess.

      • LooseSeal says:

        @outoftheshadows – the sad part is I don’t think he actually figured it out. I think that’s just his explanation but he hasn’t even connected that he instinctually places Tambor’s feelings over Walters’.

      • Megan says:

        Bateman has always struck me as the perfect example of white male privilege. That said, I suspect everyone on set has been the target of Tambor’s temper tantrums and Bateman has erroneously allowed everyone to just shake it off rather than fix the problem. I also think, given that Tambor is already damaged goods, Bateman was trying to shut down the conversation so Arrested Development doesn’t get bad press. Obviously he failed in that.

    • NoShame says:

      Totally. Clearly, men do not understand this.

      That being said, I’m not ready to cancel Bateman. If we just go on a cancelling spree we’re failing to distinguish between abuser and men who’ve been raised to not understand what the hell is going on because the culture has never asked them to understand what the hell is going on until about 8 months ago, which is basically 98% of men. We’re talking about trying to dismantle centuries worth of wrong doing in a very short amount of time.

      My rule is cancel the people who actually did the assaulting. Continue to educate the rest. Even the most woke dudes aren’t nearly as woke as they think they are because they have never been subjected to real harassment or having their complaints dismissed. This is a learning process. I’m happy to give people some space for that learning process…up to a point.

      • Anon33 says:

        The problem is that Bateman has been an asshole for a looooong time. I remember watching commentary as part of bonus footage on the AD DVDs waaaay back in the day, and he went IN on Judy Greer for having a zit. Not lightly, not in jest. Like, he kept mentioning it and harping on it throughout the episode commentary. It was shocking to say the least.

      • Lexie says:

        I agree with you completely. It’s going to take a loooooot of time for the men who actually WANT to understand, to actually understand. It’s going to require them to examine themselves under a pretty harsh light and no one ever wants to do that, so we’re looking at a long-haul cultural revolution.

        I’ll be watching Bateman closely to see his follow up. But I think I still won’t watch AD season 5…. Netflix needs to know it was NOT COOL to work with Tambor but also to put him up for an Emmy. After his behavior? Absurd.

      • Carrie1 says:

        I appreciate that he said all the words in apology and explained his process, because that will educate others. Men legit do not understand this fully and if we cancel every man who shares these thoughts out loud, we are not helping our cause.

        Weinstein, Woody Allen,et al cancelled for me. Other men who haven’t taken responsibility … Kevin Spacey …. are cancelled for me. But Bateman … I’m giving him some time to see how he evolves from here.

        Ostracization does more harm than good usually. Its also an ineffective, immature response, and exacerbates these problems and can lead to violence. So no, I’m not cancelling Bateman. I’m listening closer to him tho and hope he genuinely keeps trying to not repeat his past actions and behaviour.

        I’ve never watched this show and don’t plan to start. It’s not my thing. I like some of Bateman’s other work though.

    • hogtowngooner says:

      Right? Who the eff takes until their 70s to “learn and grow” to treat a colleague with respect? White men who’ve gotten away with it, that’s who.

    • Lilly says:

      Yes, except replace “victim” with “women” and it would be more honest. It reads like he believes throwing in “mansplain” that he’s sincere. I really also loved Tony Hale, too bad.

  3. Vex says:

    am i misremembering, but wasn’t his wife harassed by weinstein (or someone??) I seem to be remembering something about a guy looking up her skirt???? idk, my point is that it’s really alarming this is his attitude about abusers he works with, when his own wife has presumably spoken with him about this issue. it makes me worried for her… like, what was his reaction when she told her story?? did he just go ‘eh, that was probably The Process, honey.’

  4. lucy2 says:

    I sound like I’m condoning yelling at work. I do not.
    (Narrator: He did.)
    It sounds like I’m excusing Jeffery. I do not.
    (Narrator: He did.)
    It sounds like I’m insensitive to Jessica. I am not.
    (Narrator: He was.)

    Grrrr I’m so angry at all of them, for Jessica, for Alia, for everyone else who manages to work on that show like a professional adult, and for myself, because I really loved it, and it feels seriously tainted now.

  5. perplexed says:

    His apology sounded sincere at the end. He didn’t do the “I’m sorry IF you were offended.” He legitimately apologized.

    • tegteg says:

      I agree. Yes, he f***** up. He’s apologizing and trying to make amends though.

      Do we not forgive people anymore? Is that what Time’s Up is about? Because this is not an example of a serial transgressor (a la Weinstein, who is beyond forgiveness in my eyes). He has acknowledged that he was wrong, I’m going to let his future actions determine whether I believe him. Jason Bateman isn’t cancelled for me… yet.

      Edited to add: I do find it troubling that the men of the set acted like yelling at coworkers was a normal thing… that sounds like such a toxic work environment. I almost think that studios need someone impartial on set to monitor for these things, report them, and take action. This sort of behavior is unacceptable and I think that oftentimes people are afraid to come forward because either nobody will believe them, or they’ll be punished for speaking out (or both).

      Also, Jeffrey Tambor is cancelled for me. This sort of repeat behavior from a grown man is unacceptable and he should be held accountable for his actions. There is no excuse for a grown man “throwing a tantrum” and screaming at people. I grew up with a father like that and everybody would dismiss it as “he just has anger problems.” We ALL get angry but you have to exercise discipline and self-control and not make excuses for shi**y behavior.

      • Jen says:

        I get what you’re saying. Yeah, he SHOULD know better…but that’s not the world we live in. A lot of men didn’t understand and had to be hit over the head with this to understand…but if they’re trying, do we not give them an opportunity? Jessica Walter made it clear she has forgiven Tambor and would absolutely continue to work with him, so can we not forgive Bateman if he does indeed show he wants to be better?

  6. hindulovegod says:

    Bateman’s explanation is that his instinct is always to support a violent abuser instead of more capable, valuable female colleagues. He’s upset anyone would think that’s bad. But, he’ll apologise anyway. Sort of.

  7. NΞΞNΔ ΖΞΞ says:

    Weren’t there reports of him being nasty and mean on the Transparent set too?

    I’d love to think that he’s a cool guy to work with, funny AF and generous and supportive to his fellow cast members, but he’s probably just another actor who believes his own hype way too much…

    • tracking says:

      It’s interesting, I’ve been wondering about the “we all do it” remarks. It made me think maybe he didn’t want to attack Tambor for behavior he felt he himself might also have been guilty of (though probably occasionally losing temper vs. systematic abuse a la Tambor). His remarks also suggest he tends to take on the role of peacemaker, and his instinct is to smooth over fights. At Walters’ expense, which is not okay. To his credit, he now seems to have realized that.

      • ccc8888 says:

        Actually I’ve been reading on DL that Jessica can be very taxing to work with professionally. They believe that Jason was alluding to her not being 100% innocent. That somehow she did something to cause the incident.

        Not defending the men here, just reporting what I’ve been reading. I’m very much team Jessica.

  8. TheOriginalMia says:

    Wonder which crisis management team helped him write that. I’m sure he feels sorry his behavior was documented and exposed. The damage both personally and professionally is done.

  9. vanna says:

    Can we uncancel Will Arnett for the time being please? While he didn’t step up for Walters, he did NOT defend Tambor – that was mostly Bateman and some Hale comments.

    • Lisa Giametti says:

      Silence is the same as defending Tambor. It doesn’t excuse him.

      • Darla says:

        I don’t agree that it’s the same. What Bateman did is far worse. It’s certainly not good, but it’s not the same.

      • outoftheshadows says:

        I read through again. Will Arnett made a joke about keying Jason Bateman’s car during the part where Bateman was saying that there were all kinds of tensions on set. It seemed to me that Arnett was uncomfortable and joked in order to stop Bateman from talking. There are people who go up head to head to confront a problem, and there are those who try to slip in some humor (which Walter did, too) in order to defuse the situation and move on. I think Arnett was trying to do that. I don’t know his life, but it must have been awful for all of them to have this discussion in such a public way, and I think his actions indicate a person who is deeply disturbed by what’s happening in the room. But I could be wrong.

      • vanna says:

        @Lisa Giametti I disagree that its the same. While not good or honorable, he did not try to dimish Jessica Walters experience and did not talk over her.

    • Missmarirose says:

      I’d like to think that’s due to the influence of his ex wife but who knows?

    • Jrock says:

      Jessica was literally confronting her abuser in this situation. Tambor was sitting in the room, and she tried to make her feelings clear, and she was being dismissed and spoken over or immediately having Tambor’s abusive behavior explained away by her co-workers and, most vocally, by the lead on the show. She continued to try and speak up, attempting to ensure her point came across, and most vocally, Bateman and Cross kept pushing back at her, to the point that she began crying, and they STILL didn’t shut the fuck up. Alia Shawkat was the only one to push back at all the men in the room to recognize that Tambor was wrong. Alia could be blackballed for sticking up for Jessica because of this boy’s club bullshit.

      I would love to be on the text thread that surely happened between Will Arnett and Amy Poehler when this article came out. Amy is so outspoken about feminism and raising their kids to be feminists and humanists. Will alternately went silent or attempted to lighten the mood instead of calling Bateman out, leaving Alia Shawkat to say “Hey, motherfuckers!!!” That’s cowardly.

      Cross also wouldn’t shut the fuck up (not surprised), and Hale made me sad. I was pretty disappointed in Arnett, though, and I’m sure Amy has railed his ass for not standing up for Jessica, and secondarily, not being a role model to their children. This goes against everything she fights for. Regardless of whether they were trying to “smooth things over” or “calm everyone down”, they fucked up. These motherfuckers should be ashamed.

      De Rossi and Cera weren’t there, but the shit between Charlene Yi and Cross can’t make things comfortable between Cross and Cera anyway. I also have no doubt that De Rossi, married to arguably one of the biggest humanists and activists of our time, and has quit the acting business sans AD, would have had no issue telling all of them to shut the fuck up and listen. I don’t think Cera would’ve stood for it, either.

      Also, Thomas Sadoski fucking rules.

      **Added while waiting for approval-I just listened to the audio clip. Hearing Jessica sobbing, Alia pushing back, and Bateman not only dismiss both of them, but loudly speak over them, has fucking ruined Bateman for me, who was one of my top 3 favorite actors. Seriously, listen to the audio. You need to hear that terrible asshole for yourself.**

  10. littlemissnaughty says:

    That’s not an apology, that’s doubling down. And if one more actor tells me they’re so special and emotional and passionate and we all don’t understand, I’m going to scream. It’s a workplace you ass.

  11. mom2two says:

    I’m really disappointed by him in that article and really the whole cast (with the exception of Jessica Walters…who was actually talking through her TEARS and said no one in her long career had ever spoken to her the way Jeffrey Tambor had…and Alia Shakwat who basically came out and said that it was not acceptable how Tambor acted)…the rest of the cast there pretty much were trying to smooth it over and minimize what had happened to Walters. It was a really an uncomfortable read but enlightening into how women constantly are the ones that have to smooth things over (Jessica Walters saying that “I have to try to be your friend” to Tambor…NO SHE DOESN’T, no shame from me if she said I will never be your friend, I will work with you to make this show work, but seriously dude, I wouldn’t cry in my beer if you were fired from here).

  12. Darla says:

    I would like to see the video. I wish this was on video. I feel that the way Walter’s is reacting and carrying this, the incident was horrific. Like ‘yelling at work” in no way describes it. Who is that maniac that Jlaw loves, and Clooney almost murdered on a set once? The director. I think I blocked out his name. Anyway, there’s a video of him “yelling at work” at Lily Tomlin and it is so horrifying that you have to see it because no words can do it justice. It is abuse and thuggery. And I think what happened here rivals that.

  13. Anastasia says:

    I read this interview last night and I was SO PISSED. Yeah, Bateman is done for me (and his sister is SO WOKE–anyone follow her on Twitter? She’s amazing).

    Arnett was kind of already done for me. I’ve heard/read some skeezy things about him.

    Tony Hale broke my heart. BROKE MY HEART.

    The whole thing from those men was just unbelievable BULLSHIT.

    And this reaction? “It sounds like????” No, dude, you DID do those things.

    Listening to the audio was worse–it made me wish I were there. I would have literally physically starting kicking their ASSES all over the place on behalf of Walters.

  14. Jess says:

    He apologized and maybe is trying to learn something here. Can we give him the benefit of doubt here and retract the claws? I don’t want to cancel Jason:(

    • tracking says:

      I know, maybe I’m being obtuse because I’ve always liked him so much (he seems like a devoted family man who lives his life quietly), but I find this apology decent, thoughtful, and sincere. I particularly liked his owning up to his “mansplaining” and to his hurting Walters in doing so. He seems genuinely remorseful.

    • Anastasia says:

      You can decide for yourself. I really dislike the phrase “retract the claws.” It goes with “cat fight” when women are involved.

      If you don’t want to cancel him, don’t cancel him.

    • detritus says:

      Yeah I don’t understand this.
      Why is verbal abuse and bullying, because let’s be clear, that’s what this was, valued so much less than physical abuse?

      Emotional abuse carries very similar scars, and Bateman was gaslighting and bullying Jessica. He was minimizing and diminishing, and retraumatizing by doing so. He is equally part of the problem by encouraging and allowing men to be this way.

      You think he might maybe learn something and that’s good enough? Goddamn the bar for men is low.

  15. Christin says:

    He got called out, and needed to do crisis management.

    When someone shows you who they are, believe them. He’s Team Jeffrey. Team Yelling At Work is Just a Process.

    He doubled, tripled, quadrupled down during that interview.

    • detritus says:

      Exactly this.
      He didn’t admit fault, he denied it.
      He denied he was condoning yelling (he did in the interview and when he didn’t stop it on Set).
      He denied excusing Jeffrey, when he had his back over Jessica’s.
      He denied being insensitive and being part of the problem.

      Everything else is PR scramble.

  16. Amelie says:

    I’m so glad this is being covered. I read the NYT article last night and I was so, so disappointed because as dark as the show is, I really enjoyed Jason Bateman’s performance in Ozarks on Netflix. But I was shaking my head and internally screaming. I get the cast of Arrested Development wants to stand by Jeffrey Tambor as he is being accused of sexual harassment by people from the set of Transparent and they are adamant they never experienced anything like that from him. Okay fine. That’s one thing.

    But to minimize Jessica Walter’s experience and to keep going on and on about an “artistic process” to defend Tambor, I was out of my mind and so surprised that he didn’t realize he was being so tone deaf! Do men not think before they speak?

  17. Natalia says:

    We’re surprised a show entitled “Arrested Development’ had/has problems like this? Never watched it beyond 5 mins of one show. YMMV.

  18. Dee Kay says:

    This makes me sooooo sad. I have been a Bateman fan for what feels like my whole life, since he was on Silver Spoons with Ricky Schroeder. Arrested Development and Ozark were among my favorite shows. I feel hurt, devastated, by this. At least I can double down on Jessica Walter’s and Alia Shawkat’s shows (Archer and Search Party). UGH. Why are so many good artists/performers douchebags? Or vice versa?

  19. Spike says:

    Time has audio of the clip -

    http://time.com/5289712/arrested-development-cast-jeffrey-tambor-jessica-walter/

    It is so incredibly upsetting to hear the anguish & pain in her voice. I have been a tremendous fan of hers since Play Misty for me.
    https://m.imdb.com/name/nm0910055/filmotype/actress?ref_=m_nmfm_1

    Considering her incredibly long career stretching back to the 60s it is extremely likely that she has dealt with disturbing behaviors. For her to refer to a 60 year career which was primarily ruled by men gives her assertions a tremendous weight.

    The appalling and disgusting thing is that NONE of the men stand up for Jessica, support, stand up for, to comfort or empathize in manner.

    They exclusively extoll Tambor’s explanation, as well as his learning experience & growth. Hmm…and he only revealed this incident in light of serious sexual harassment complaints. It’s similar to Spacey’s “coming out” in light of sexual assault/harassment of teenage boys & men. He portrays his angry & troubling pass as – yes I’m an entitled asshole but I didn’t harass women.

    It is especially galling that Bateman repeatedly refers to Jessica “the victim” which demonstrates, in a crystal clear manner his detachment from the situation.

    And as an FYI commenters mention that men don’t get it. That’s a sweeping generalization & condemnation of an entire gender. That is not fair or helpful in this discussion. Personally I’ve experienced more than one experience of very inappropriate harassment. My male colleagues were supportive & stood up for me. Yep I’ve dealt with asshats who love to blame women as in this situation. The men I know were furious with the men involved & clearly articulate with the preparators & discussed it with people of authority & power that this was inexhaustible. Most of the folk on this level responded as the males in the cast.

    They are all cancelled for me.

  20. Evie says:

    This is my favourite Celebitchy post EVER. Bitch, TIME’SUP! I loved reading and feeling the passion and strength in calling these f*ckers out. CANCELLED.

  21. Renee says:

    I watched him on Colbert last night and he kept referred to Will Arnett as “Lady Will”, “Dame Arnett” and “Her” as a way of mocking him for being shook up over their taxi accident/fender bender earlier in the week. Haha, I get it, women act hysterical over the smallest things.

  22. Bliss 51 says:

    I realize why Clayne Crawford was fired as he’s way down the totem pole, I’d never heard of him til the firing. Bateman has a higher standing but he doesn’t have it in him to listen to his colleague as she recounts her experience and then to write “I sound like . . . but I wasn’t.” Please. And why is that Arnett guy that color?

  23. Jessica says:

    I’ve never been a fan of his, but watched The Gift anyway in spite of him. And while watching I had the feeling he was just basically playing himself. Guess I was right.

  24. Jennifer Leader says:

    I hope you will take back the “Jason Bateman is trash,” comment. He apologized so eloquently and I think he really needed the feedback from everyone about why he was wrong, to understand. In this case, I think he is one of the few that really learned something. I was really disappointed in him too. But after I read his apology, all is forgiven for me. And it would be better is you said, “Jason Bateman doesn’t understand,” instead of calling him “trash.” No person is “trash.” We are all struggling through changing times together.

    • M says:

      I completely get you. I felt bad for him too. BUT here is the thing: this probably won’t affect his career at all! We’ll see. I also REALLY don’t want to hate him.

    • No Doubtful says:

      Totally agree, I think some are going overboard with immediately “canceling” all men who make blunders. Give them a chance to learn and change. That’s what this #MeToo process is about. Opening eyes to the troubles women face!

      ***Just to be clear, I’m not talking about giving a chance to the men who did the abusing. F them.

  25. detritus says:

    It’s interesting to me to see what happens with complicity and gender.

    Georgina Chapman, who never spoke publicly supporting her husband after his crimes (of a vastly different scale to be sure), and had every reason being his wife, to trust him. She is absolutely castigated here.
    Bateman though, someone who actively shut a woman down, who actively supported this culture, now, today, is forgiveable. He had power on set too, he saw what was going down, and he publicly supported the abuser over the victim.

    We are just so willing to forgive men their trespasses, as long as their words are pretty. I don’t care about words. I want to see action. Bateman’s actions have shown me who he is, and unless I see something to the contrary, that holds.

  26. SM says:

    Ugh. Too bad. Just watched the Game Night. Hilarious. Would recommend it but now am really not sure i would want to look at his face. Rachel McAdams is awesome in that movie though

  27. No Doubtful says:

    I’m in the minority I guess, but I’m not canceling Bateman over this. This is how people learn and grow, by making mistakes and being called out on them. I’m willing to give second chances to some of these men who are clueless. BUT, now that they have a clue, they better not make the same mistake twice.