(LOS ANGELES) — After initially denying he would, director Tristam Shapeero has come forward to apologize for being the British voice behind a now infamous Zoom audition in which he seemingly shamed actor Lukas Gage’s small apartment. 

The director apparently forgot to mute himself while giving the Euphoria actor’s apartment a critical once-over, saying to a colleague, “These poor people live in these tiny apartments…”

For his part, Gage didn’t miss a beat, agreeing he lived in a small place, and would upgrade if he got hired.

Comments supporting the actor poured in, and speculation began as to who the snooty speakerphone guy was, with many mistakenly fingering Rocketman producer Matthew Vaughn.

However, TMZ nabbed Shapeero after the video went viral, and he told the gossip site this weekend that he didn’t need to apologize, because he “didn’t say anything bad.”

In a new statement to Deadline, however, the veteran of shows like The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Brooklyn Nine-Nine fessed up, and said, “…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,” insisting, “Lukas deserved better.” 

Shapeero added that the audition took place in August, “after four months of lockdown,” and that, “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.” 

Shapeero claims, “I 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…” and vowed to, “move forward from this incident a more empathetic man.”

By Stephen Iervolino
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