Trace Lysette, a star in the Amazon series Transparent, has accused Jeffrey Tambor of sexual misconduct.
Lysette plays the yoga instructor Shea in the award-winning series. She is the second person to speak out against the alleged actions of Tambor, 73, who has won two Emmys for the groundbreaking role as trans woman Maura Pfefferman.
"Sadly, I must add my voice to the chorus. Jeffrey has acted inappropriate to me too," Lysette told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday. "Jeffrey has made many sexual advances and comments at me, but one time it got physical."
The transgender actress Lysette said that the "physical" incident took place filming a scene with Tambor in the show's second season — a Transparent scene which went viral where Shea treaches Maura how to properly speak the popular catchphrase, "Yas queen."
When Lysette walked on set in a lingerie top and short-shorts, Tambor remarked, "My God, Trace. I want to attack you sexually," Lysette said.
A third actor in the scene, Alexandra Billings, overheard. Both "laughed it off because it was so absurd," Lysette said.
Later Tambor, dressed as his character in a green satin kimono and gray wig, approached Lysette.
"He came in close, put his bare feet on top of mine so I could not move, leaned his body against me, and began quick, discreet thrust back and forth against my body. I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas," Lysette said.
Lysette also described meeting Tambor on red carpet events where she "would go to hug him and kiss him on the cheek — and it would land on my lips. And I was like, 'OK. What was that about?'"
Lysette described another moment later in production of Season Two with Tambor.
"He said, 'Well, yeah Trace. I really believe in you. And you know what? I don't even want to have sex with you.' And then he just looked at me as if he very much indeed wanted to have sex with me. It was an up-and-down look. I rolled my eyes and went to my trailer and thought, 'This man is something else.'"
Tambor released a statement to USA TODAY:
"I am deeply sorry if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being sexually aggressive or if I ever offended or hurt anyone," Tambor said. "But the fact is, for all my flaws, I am not a predator and the idea that someone might see me in that way is more distressing than I can express."
On Nov. 8, a private Facebook post from the actor's former assistant, a transgender woman named Van Barnes, said that Tambor engaged in inappropriate behavior.
THR claims the private Facebook post, without directly naming Tambor, discusses an employer who gave "butt pats," played pornography at loud volumes and who made comments like, "I should be sleeping with him if I want a Hollywood industry-appropriate pay grade."
Tambor "adamantly" denied these allegations at the time, claiming the former assistant was "disgruntled."
Amazon Studios has initiated an investigation into the allegations against Tambor.
Here's Tambor's full statement:
“For the past four years, I’ve had the huge privilege -- and huge responsibility – of playing Maura Pfefferman, a transgender woman, in a show that I know has had an enormous, positive impact on a community that has been too long dismissed and misunderstood. Now I find myself accused of behavior that any civilized person would condemn unreservedly. I know I haven’t always been the easiest person to work with. I can be volatile and ill-tempered, and too often I express my opinions harshly and without tact. But I have never been a predator – ever. I am deeply sorry if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being sexually aggressive or if I ever offended or hurt anyone. But the fact is, for all my flaws, I am not a predator and the idea that someone might see me in that way is more distressing than I can express.“
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