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Director Tristram Shapeero apologises to Lukas Gage after unmuted comments

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe encounter between Tristram Shapeero (pictured, left, in 2013) and Lukas Gage took place in August

Director Tristram Shapeero has apologised after unwittingly commenting on an actor's "tiny apartment" without realising he could be heard.

Euphoria actor Lukas Gage was auditioning for a role via Zoom earlier this year when an unmuted Shapeero began making comments about his home.

Gage uploaded the video of the encounter to Twitter this week.

Shapeero apologised to Gage at the time and has now written an open letter to him about his "unacceptable" remarks.

Shapeero is a well-known producer and director in Hollywood and has worked on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Never Have I Ever.

What happened during the audition?

In the video, which includes bad language and was posted on Twitter by Gage on Saturday, the actor can be seen in his apartment about to audition on Zoom for a screen role.

An unseen Shapeero can then be heard saying: "These poor people live in these tiny apartments. Like I'm looking at his, you know, background and he's got his TV..."

But Shapeero doesn't get any further before Gage interjects: "I know it's a [rubbish] apartment that's why [you should] give me this job so I can get a better one."

Realising his previous comment was audible, Shapeero immediately apologises, telling Gage: "Oh my god, I am so, so sorry... I am absolutely mortified."

With a smile, Gage responds: "It's totally... Listen, I'm living in a four-by-four box, just give me the job and we'll be fine."

When he posted the video on Twitter, Gage captioned it: "Public service announcement: If you're a [trash] talking director, make sure to mute [yourself] on Zoom meetings."

What was the reaction?

The audition took place in August 2020, so it is not clear why Gage has only now decided to share the footage on social media.

But after posting it on Twitter on Saturday, the video went viral - it was viewed more than 9 million times and has now received nearly 300,000 likes and more than 30,000 retweets.

Gage received support from major figures in the film and TV industry, including Judd Apatow, Seth MacFarlane and Billy Eichner.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionGage, pictured with Pitch Perfect star Anna Camp, has also appeared in American Vandal and Love, Victor

Fans immediately began speculating as to who the director could be - as Gage's tweet did not identify him by name.

What has the director said now?

On Tuesday morning, Tristram Shapeero came forward to confirm he was the unseen director and apologise to Gage again, this time via an open letter published in Deadline.

"First and foremost I offer Mr Gage a sincere and unvarnished apology for my offensive words, my unprofessional behaviour during the audition and for not giving him the focus and attention he deserved," he wrote.

"My job is to evaluate performers against the part I am trying to cast. Lukas deserved better."

Shapeero also clarified his meaning particularly around the use of the word "poor".

"I was using the word 'poor' in the sense of deserving sympathy, as opposed to any economic judgment," he explained.

"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."

He concludes: "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."

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