Director Tristram Shapeero has come forward and apologized after actor Lukas Gage shared an Instagram video of Shapeero insulting his home during a virtual audition over Zoom.
In the now viral video, the 25-year-old Euphoria star is adjusting his camera when the voice of a man with a British accent can be heard saying, “These poor people live in these tiny apartments. Like, I’m looking at his background and he’s got his TV and you know… “
Gage then grins and makes it clear he can hear the director, telling him, “You’re unmuted. I know it’s a s**ty apartment. That’s why, give me this job so I can get a better one. All right, ready?”
The director immediately apologized, clearly embarrassed at being overheard. Gage — who received plenty of support from fellow celebs at the way he handled the awkward moment — captioned the video, “psa: if youre a s**t talking director make sure to mute ur mic on zoom mtgings 😝.”
Although Gage did not name the man who spoke unfavorably of his home, Shapeero — whose credits include Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Community — wrote an essay published on Deadline, in which he apologized for his remarks.
“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,” he writes. “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,” he continues. “My job is to evaluate performers against the part I am trying to cast. Lukas deserved better.”
Shapeero said the Zoom audition took place in August, and that he actually was moved by young actors working so hard to win what few parts were available amid the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was using the word ‘poor’ in the sense of deserving sympathy, as opposed to any economic judgment,” he explains. “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,” he concludes. “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.”
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