Tristram Shapeero is offering a formal apology to Lukas Gage.
On Monday, the 54-year-old British director — who was heard criticizing Gage's "tiny apartment" during a virtual audition — issued an apology to the actor, 25, after previously stating he would not offer one.
In a letter published by Deadline, Shapeero began his apology by writing, "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," his statement continued. "During it, an unmuted director makes reference to tiny apartments and 'these poor people,' referring to actors. The quick-witted Gage responds that he knows his apartment is 'shitty' and that is why he needs this job so he could get a better one."
Noting that the video "has had millions of views and he has received support from all corners of the acting world and from many of his fans," since its posting, Shapeero said that although "the director was not identified," many began to speculate about who the individual could be, "which ultimately proved correct."
Then, going against what he described as "wise advice" to not say anything and let the situation fade out, Shapeero wrote that he decided to reveal himself and come forward to "take responsibility, make the apology Mr. Gage deserves, and offer some background for my unacceptable and insensitive remarks."
Introducing himself by name and describing himself as "a 20-year veteran television director, half in the U.K., and the second half here in the U.S.," Shapeero — whose credits include Community, Parks and Recreation, New Girl and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt — wrote that he offers "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," he continued. "Lukas deserved better."
Shapeero said that the Zoom audition took place in August amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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"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," he said, before claiming that he used the word "poor" to imply "the sense of deserving sympathy, as opposed to any economic judgment."
Continued Shapeero,"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 added. "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."
Closing out the letter, Shapeero signed it by name and wrote that he was concluding it "with humility and gratitude."
Last Friday, Gage posted the video recording of the Zoom meeting he was on with Shapeero, writing on his Twitter and Instagram account, "PSA if youre a s— talking director make sure to mute ur s— on zoom mtgings."
In the footage, the Euphoria star stands in his apartment as he prepares to read lines. Shapeero can be heard telling another person on the call, "These poor people live in these tiny apartments."
"Like, I'm looking at his background and he's got his TV and, you know —" Shapeero says, before Gage cuts him off to inform him that his microphone is actually "unmuted."
"I know it's a s—– apartment," Gage says. "Give me this job so I can get a better one." Realizing his mistake, Shapeero then apologizes and tells Gage that he's "mortified."
"Listen, I'm living in a four by four box. It's fine," Gage says, brushing off the remark. "Just give me the job, and we'll be fine."
On Monday, Shapeero outed himself as the one who was caught making the comments when he was asked about the incident by a freelance videographer.
Shapeero confirmed that the incident was real, but added "I don't have any apology because I didn't say anything bad. You have to look up the definition." Shapeero also told the videographer in the footage published on TMZ that "it was three months ago."
Shapeero added that "the context of which it was said, and the context of the meanings of the words, need to be properly evaluated."
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