Van Barnes, Jeffrey Tambor’s former Transparent assistant and now an accuser, told NBC’s Megyn Kelly today that Tambor admitted to watching her sleep unclothed and repeatedly propositioned her at contract negotiation time.
Barnes said the alleged harassment was particularly hurtful because Barnes is a transgender woman and was drawn to the show’s portrayal of transgender issues. “He could draw from me for his character,” said Barnes, who worked for Tambor for two years, on Megyn Kelly Today.
Barnes said Tambor would repeatedly ask “Why haven’t we slept together,” usually during periods when the show was about to go on break and jobs were being evaluated. She estimated he made the comments several times a week.
“It ran the gamut of sexual harassment, physical harassment, and verbal abuse, constantly,” Barnes said. “This all really falls under the problem Hollywood has right now with this abuse of power and misogyny.”
The former assistant said she repeatedly deflected Tambor’s comments, at one point explaining that she wasn’t “comfortable” with her body, to which Tambor replied that he had already seen her naked while she slept. Tambor and Barnes shared living quarters at the start of the show, Barnes said, while Tambor needed a place to stay.
“That’s violating, it’s so creepy,” Barnes said. “This is a man I put my trust in.”
Tambor, who has denied the allegations, is not returning to the Amazon series. Last month, Transparent creator Jill Soloway told Deadline, “I have great respect and admiration for Van Barnes and Trace Lysette, whose courage in speaking out about their experience on Transparent is an example of the leadership this moment in our culture requires.” (Lysette has also accused Tambor of harassment).
Barnes said Tambor’s firing was “just” but that “they haven’t completed the whole process of helping me stand back up on my feet.”
Watch the Megyn Kelly Today segment with Barnes above.