British director Tristram Shapeero has admitted he was the filmmaker caught insulting Euphoria star Lukas Gage’s “tiny apartment” when he thought he was muted during a virtual audition.
He has written a public apology to Gage, 25, and praised him for his “quick-witted” response.
Footage of the awkward exchange went viral after the US actor shared the clip last week, but did not name the director.
Thinking his voice is muted, the filmmaker’s voice can 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…”
Gage, smiling, replies: “I know it’s a sh***y apartment. That’s why give me this job so I can get a better one.”
Mr Shapeero, a television director who has worked on shows including The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, has now confirmed reports identifying him as the director in question.
Writing for US entertainment news site Deadline, he offered “a sincere and unvarnished apology” to Gage.
“This Zoom audition took place in August, after four months of lockdown,” he wrote. “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 judgement.
“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.”
After the video went viral, Gage received messages of support from a range of stars, including director Judd Apatow, actors Kevin McHale and Hugh Bonneville and actress January Jones.
Bonneville tweeted: “Well done for handling that patronising British twerp with such good grace.”