The pandemic has made working from home a reality for not just those of us who work at offices, but celebrities, too. Many actors are auditioning in front of directors for important roles through Zoom and FaceTime—and it turns out, even members of Hollywood have issues remembering whether or not their microphones are muted. Lukas Gage, an up-and-coming actor best known for his role on the HBO hit series Euphoria, posted a screen recording of a virtual audition he did recently on social media. In the clip, you can hear the director refer to Gage as a “poor [person]” who lives in a “tiny apartment.” When Gage posted the clip on Nov. 20, it went viral, with fellow celebrities applauding how graciously he handled the situation and also nudging him to name the director who can only be heard via audio, but not seen.
While Gage didn’t name the director, Tristram Shapeero has finally come forward as the man on the other side of the screen and he’s apologizing for criticizing Gage’s living situation. Read on for more about what led to the director’s apology and for some other recent celeb news, check out ABC Sitcom Star Quits, Calling Show a “Toxic Environment.”
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On Nov. 20, Gage posted the snippet from his online audition.
Last week, Gage posted a video recording of the Zoom call on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, writing, “PSA, if you’re a s*** talking director make sure to mute ur mic on zoom.” In the video, you can see Gage preparing himself for the audition with a man off-screen 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—,” before Gage stopped him to let him know he was “unmuted.”
“I know it’s a s***** apartment. That’s why… give me this job so I can get a better one,” Gage quipped back before getting ready to start his audition. The director, realizing his mistake, apologized, saying he was “mortified.”
Celebrities quickly rallied around Gage as the video went viral.
The Twitter video has garnered tens of thousands of shares and nearly 300,000 likes, with most in support of Gage. One user commented, “You handled this situation beautifully, but I’m sorry you had to sit through that though.” The video has become so viral that even celebrities such as Seth MacFarlane, Leslie Jordan, Judd Apatow, and Angela Kinsey have publicly commented on it.
“You handled this moment so well. I once overheard a casting director say I wasn’t ‘Hollywood pretty.’ People can be thoughtless and rude but you get to decide if they have power over you,” Kinsey, who played Angela Martin on The Office, tweeted. And for more up-to-date celebrity news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
And they had their theories on who the infamous director was.
Since Gage did not name the director behind the video, people formed their own theories about who it was. One comment under the video on Twitter, which has been liked more than 2,000 times, said it was director Matthew Vaughn—who is the creative voice behind movies such as Kingsman and X-Men: First Class. That hypothesis came to be after January Jones responded to Gage’s video saying, “I have a guess,” seeing as many believe Vaughn to be the father of Jones’ son.
Others named Max Minghella, who directed Teen Spirit, but he cut down rumors, tweeting out on Nov. 20, “Lol not me.” And for some other behind-the-scenes clashes, check out 11 Beloved Movie Couples Who Clashed Behind the Scenes.
Days after the video went viral, Tristram Shapeero came forward.
It was neither Vaughn nor Minghella, however. Shapeero—who has directed shows like Community and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt—has recently outed himself as the infamous director in Gage’s viral video.
On Nov. 23, TMZ released a video from a freelance videographer with Splash News, who asked Shapeero about the clip. The director said he wasn’t “confirming or denying” it was him, but he also said he didn’t have any apologies to give because he “didn’t say anything bad.”
Shapeero did, however, say “there will be a statement I’m sure at some point,” adding “the context of the meanings of the words need to be properly evaluated.”
Hours later, he published an official statement, apologizing for the remarks.
Hours later, Shapeero’s promised statement was posted on Deadline, sharing his side of the story and apologizing to Gage.
“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 wrote. “My job is to evaluate performers against the part I am trying to cast. Lukas deserved better.”
According to Shapeero, the Zoom audition took place in August, “after four months of lockdown.” He said he was “deeply moved by the passion” of the young actors auditioning for roles during the pandemic and said he 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,” Shapeero wrote. “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.” And for more on the rough side of this industry, find out which Huge Stars Almost Quit Hollywood.