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Late last week, Euphoria actor Lukas Gage posted a short video to his social media. It was a clip from an audition Gage had done over Zoom. During the pandemic, many actors have been auditioning over Zoom, so I wouldn’t imagine it was anything particularly unique to Gage. The clip Gage posted was a British-accented director mocking Gage’s apartment, apparently not realizing that his microphone was not muted. The director was apparently disgusted at the idea of Zooming with “poor people” and their “tiny apartments.”
— lukas gage (@lukasgage) November 20, 2020
Gage didn’t name the director and many people thought it was Matthew Vaughn, a British producer/director of films like Layer Cake, X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass and Kingsman. But apparently it’s not Matthew Vaughn. It’s Tristram Shapeero, a television director. He was first contacted by the Daily Mail and it did not go well:
Tristram Shapeero defended his comments overheard in a Zoom call with actor Lukas Gage, claiming that he ‘didn’t say anything bad’ in his remarks on the size of Gage’s apartment. The British director, 54, is believed to be the industry pro, who on a Zoom stream with the actor, 25, that said ‘these poor people live in these tiny apartments’ – not realizing that he could be overheard with the ostensibly-offensive comments.
Shapeero initially blanched at the idea of speaking with a photographer, saying, ‘I’m on the phone with my brother at the moment so I have no comment to make it this time.’ When prodded further, Shapeero said he felt no need to say sorry because he wasn’t in the wrong.
‘I don’t have any apology because I didn’t say anything bad, and you have to look up the definition … it was three months ago,’ said Shapeero, who’s directed for shows such as Community, Never Have I Ever, Superstore, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Veep. ‘The context of which it was said and the context of the meanings of the words need to be properly evaluated – that’s all I’m gonna say.’
Shapeero then said he was planning on issuing a formal statement to clarify his stance on the issue after conferring with public relations professionals.
‘Actually I’m not gonna say anything right now, because were talking to some PR people, but there will be a statement I’m sure at some point, but I’m not confirming,’ he said.
[From The Daily Mail]
Wow, what a horribly bad reaction! Everything checks out – a snooty dude who mocks “poor” actors for living in regular old apartments would obviously not believe he said anything wrong when confronted. So yeah, hours later, he issued a long-ass statement to Deadline:
You probably don’t know who I am, but you’re likely familiar with my story. An actor, Lukas Gage, posted a clip on social media taken from a Zoom casting he and I had been a part of back in August…. Despite what is probably wise advice: to say the least possible and let this pass, I have decided to come forward, take responsibility, make the apology Mr. Gage deserves, and offer some background for my unacceptable and insensitive remarks. I am Tristram Shapeero, a 20-year veteran television director, half in the UK, and the second half here in the US.
First and foremost I offer Mr. Gage a sincere and unvarnished apology for my offensive words, my unprofessional behavior during the audition and for not giving him the focus and attention he deserved. My job is to evaluate performers against the part I am trying to cast. Lukas deserved better. This Zoom audition took place in August, after four months of lockdown. A number of my co-workers were also on the auditions which happened over several days. It was emotional to see actors work so hard to win the few parts available and we were deeply moved by the passion of these young people under the extraordinary circumstances.
I was using the word ‘poor’ in the sense of deserving sympathy, as opposed to any economic judgment. My words were being spoken from a genuine place of appreciation for what the actors were having to endure, stuck in confined spaces, finding it within themselves to give a role-winning performance under these conditions. As I say on the video, I’m mortified about what happened. While I can’t put the proverbial toothpaste back in the tube, I move forward from this incident a more empathetic man; a more focused director and I promise, an even better partner to actors from the audition process to the final cut.
With humility and gratitude, Tristram Shapeero
LOL. I mean, maybe in the moment, Shapeero really did mean it sympathetically like “these poor actors” but I feel like Gage, in the moment, understood his meaning completely. Also, Shapeero didn’t feel that bad – he didn’t give Gage the part.
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