Scott Rudin, under fire after The Hollywood Reporter detailed allegations of workplace abuse against him earlier this month, announced he was stepping back from his Broadway productions and apologized for his behavior in a statement to The Washington Post on Saturday.
“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. My passionate hope and expectation is that Broadway will reopen successfully very soon, and that the many talented artists associated with it will once again begin to thrive and share their artistry with the world. I do not want any controversy associated with me to interrupt Broadway’s well deserved return, or specifically, the return of the 1500 people working on these shows.”
Actors Equity, the labor union which represents actors in live theater, responded to Rudin’s statement shortly after it was issued, calling on Rudin to release employees from non-disclosure agreements so they may come forward. President Kate Shindle and executive director Mary McColl wrote in the joint message, “Since news reports emerged about Scott Rudin, we have had many private conversations with our sibling unions and the Broadway League. We have heard from hundreds of members that these allegations are inexcusable, and everyone deserves a safe workplace whether they are a union member or not.”
The statement continued, “We salute the courage of those who came forward. We hope that Scott Rudin will also release his staff from any nondisclosure agreements they may have signed as a condition of employment. This is an important step in creating truly safe and harassment-free theatrical workplaces on Broadway and beyond. It is not the end of our work to ensure a workplace safe for everyone in the industry as we work toward reopening.”
In a statement shared on Sunday, gender rights organization Time’s Up also weighed in on Rudin’s decision. “First and foremost, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave employees who came forward with allegations of workplace bullying and harassment against Scott Rudin. For far too long, this abusive behavior has been a stepping stone to success in Hollywood and on Broadway — but those days are over,” president and CEO of Time’s Up, Tina Tchen, said in a statement. “No one should have to endure the kind of abhorrent mistreatment that has been reported and live under fear of retaliation. We still don’t know the full extent of what occurred. That’s why TIME’S UP demands Scott Rudin release his former staff from any nondisclosure agreements. Doing so is critical to truly creating workplaces where every employee feels safe and respected across all industries.”
In a recent story in The Hollywood Reporter, Rudin’s ex-staffers spoke out on his abusive and aggressive behavior over many years. One of the allegations details a moment when Rudin smashed a computer on an assistant’s hand, leaving the young man bleeding and necessitating a visit to the hospital for treatment.
“It was a new level of unhinged — a level of lack of control that I had never seen before in a workplace,” recalled Andrew Coles, who was a development executive at the time of working with Rudin, and is now a manager and producer with credits on Queen & Slim.
Caroline Rugo worked with Rudin in 2018, and recalled to THR that he “threw a laptop at the window in the conference room and then went into the kitchen and we could hear him beating on the napkin dispenser.” Remembering another incident, Rugo said that Rudin threw a glass bowl in the direction of a colleague.
A former executive assistant of Rudin, Ryan Nelson, described working with the producer as “exhausting and horrific,” expressing to THR that he witnessed so much mistreatment that he left the industry altogether.
Earlier this week, Moulin Rouge! actor Karen Olivo said she will 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?” Olivo then challenged the entertainment industry to speak up, emphasizing the fact that people are more important than one’s pocketbook.
Among Rudin’s recent productions on Broadway is Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill a Mockingbird. During his theater career — in which Rudin has produced Broadway productions since the early 1990s — he has won 17 individual Tony Awards. On the film side, his movies have earned 151 Oscar nominations and 23 wins including best picture for No Country for Old Men from the Coen brothers in 2007.
Rudin has numerous projects in the works, among them Netflix’s adaptation of The Woman in the Window and Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth.
April 18, 12:08 p.m. Updated with Time’s Up statement.