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Director caught insulting actor during Zoom audition comes forward, apologizes

The director, Tristram Shapeero, offered a "sincere and unvarnished apology for my offensive words" after actor Lukas Gage shared a now-viral video in which Shapeero referred to "poor people" living in "tiny apartments."
/ Source: TODAY

Editor's note: This article contains strong language.

After days of speculation, the identify of the director who scoffed at a young actor's apartment during a Zoom audition has been revealed.

Over the weekend, "Euphoria" actor Luke Gage shared a video of the awkward interaction, and the Instagram post quickly went viral.

In an essay for Deadline Monday, veteran TV director Tristram Shapeero stepped forward to admit he was the one gabbing about Gage's "tiny" apartment during the video audition in August. The director apologized to the 25-year-old and expressed remorse for what he said.

TV director Tristram Shapeero apologized for scoffing at an actor's apartment during a Zoom audition in August. Tyler Golden / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

“First and foremost, 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,” he wrote.

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

Shapeero, who has worked in the industry for 20 years and helmed shows such as "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "Community," said he was using the word "poor" in a sympathetic way and didn't mean to insult anyone.

“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 wrote.

In the clip, Shapeero, whom Gage did not identify in his Instagram post, could 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 winced and politely said, "You're unmuted. I know it's a s--- apartment. That's why give me this job so I can get a better one."

The director was immediately apologetic, saying, "Oh my God, I am so, so sorry" and admitting he was "mortified."

After Gage shared the post on his social media accounts on Friday, several celebrities sounded off in the comments section and tried to guess the director's identity.

"Euphoria" actor Lukas GageJeff Kravitz / FilmMagic for HBO,

"I have a guess," "Mad Men" star January Jones wrote. "Shameless" star Emmy Rossum also weighed in, and writer and comedian Jordan Firstman suggested Gage should "NAME NAMES."

Shapeero's apology came after the director told TMZ he hadn't done anything wrong when approached by the news outlet earlier in the day.

“I don’t have any apology, because I didn’t say anything bad,” he said.