On Sunday, Foster took part in an Instagram Live conversation with fellow performer Beth Nicely, where she expressed relief that Rudin was stepping back.
“I feel like the only positive outcome is the one that happened,” she said, a day after Rudin told The Washington Post in a statement that he would be stepping back from his Broadway productions.
The actress had up to that point not made a public statement about the allegations, which involve the producer of the highly anticipated Broadway revival of The Music Man, starring Foster and Hugh Jackman. However, sources previously told THR that Foster had told those involved with the production that she would leave the show if Rudin didn’t.
“I am so honored to be a part of The Music Man and I can’t wait to create an incredible, safe, inclusive, loving environment for everyone involved, and that is all I care about moving forward,” Foster said Sunday during the Instagram Live.
She also explained why she had not yet spoken out.
“I needed to just step away to really address how I wanted to handle the situation,” Foster said. “And I didn’t feel like I needed to post [on social media] so that it would happen. I didn’t feel like that was something I needed to do because it becomes like a reactionary thing. And for me, it was — I needed to step back make sure the decision I made was mine and not based on the noise of social media. That’s who I am.”
THR reported Saturday that, over the past week, a half-dozen people involved with The Music Man converged on multiple conference calls to discuss Rudin’s involvement in the production. That’s where Foster took a stand.
A source told THR that Jackman, meanwhile, was “very concerned” about the claims, which included on-the-record depictions of physical abuse, and “what it would look like moving forward” with Rudin in a visible role. The source said that Jackman did not make any ultimatums or threaten to leave the show, which is poised to kick off Broadway’s return after a debilitating shutdown forced by the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, he did express his feeling that something needed to be done.
For the record, Foster said Sunday, “I know Hugh feels exactly the same way” as she does about the situation.
She went on to apologize for not speaking out sooner.
“I apologize if it seems like I wasn’t actively trumpeting my feelings, but I feel like the noise of — I couldn’t get a clear mind, and I really needed to step away,” she said. “I never had to deal with anyone like this before, and I think 46 years on this Earth deserves that. I’m mature enough to take the time, and I think people should allow it. I really am excited about returning to Broadway, and may we just continue the change, and that’s all I’m going to say. I just feel really, it’s an unbelievably unfortunate situation, but the only positive outcome is the one that is happening.”
A week and a half after THR‘s explosive report, Rudin gave his statement to The Washington Post, in which he said he was stepping back from Broadway productions and apologized for his behavior.
“Much has been written about my history of troubling interactions with colleagues, and I am profoundly sorry for the pain my behavior caused to individuals, directly and indirectly,” wrote the award-winning film and theater producer in a statement for the outlet. “After a period of reflection, I’ve made the decision to step back from active participation on our Broadway productions, effective immediately. My roles will be filled by others from the Broadway community and in a number of cases, from the roster of participants already in place on those shows.”
Sutton Foster addresses the Scott Rudin controversy. pic.twitter.com/gnxrwd2JtE
— OnStage Blog (@OnstageBlog) April 18, 2021
Last week, Moulin Rouge! actor Karen Olivo said she would not return to the Broadway production in protest against Rudin, and called out the industry for its silence on the allegations following THR‘s revelations.
“Social justice is more important than being a sparkling diamond. Building a better industry for my students is more important than me putting money in my pockets,” the Tony-winning performer said. “The silence about Scott Rudin? Unacceptable. Unacceptable. That’s the easy one, y’all. That’s a monster. That should be a no-brainer. Those of you who say you’re scared, what are you afraid of?”
In THR‘s story, several former employees of Rudin chronicled his abusive behavior, which included throwing items at employees including a glass bowl, a baked potato, a teacup and a stapler. At least two staffers wound up in the hospital, one as a result of Rudin smashing a computer monitor on a young man’s hand.
But in the immediate aftermath of the story’s publication, Hollywood remained relatively mum about the industry titan who has produced such films over the decades as Clueless, The Social Network and No Country for Old Men, which took home the best picture Oscar. In addition to Olivo, Annapurna Pictures founder Megan Ellison and Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp were among the only notable figures to express disgust with Rudin’s behavior.
Also on Sunday, David Graham-Caso posted an emotional video message in which he spoke directly to Rudin on Twitter. In the video, he noted that his identical twin brother, Kevin Blake Graham-Caso, was Rudin’s assistant for eight months in late 2008 and 2009. He was “abused … severely” by Rudin, who “berated and demeaned, bulled and intimidated and harassed” his brother, David said.
“It was so intense that he developed anxiety and depression and post-traumatic stress” and took his own life in October 2020. “You are part of the reason why,” he said directly to Rudin.
In his video, David also vowed to “make sure that people know that when they choose to work with you, they are choosing to work with a bully. They are choosing to work with a racist. They are choosing to work with a small and petty person who hurts those who help him succeed.”
He also commented on Rudin’s statement. “Your recent statement to take a temporary and ill-defined step back from Broadway does not show contrition,” he said. “It does not indicate any interest in actually doing better. All it appears to be is a shrewd PR strategy to avoid any real consequences.”
A message to Scott Rudin. pic.twitter.com/mvOqTvH2S9
— David Graham-Caso (@dgrahamcaso) April 18, 2021
Tatiana Siegel contributed to this report.