Scott Rudin, a powerful Broadway producer who has been charged with bullying again, apologized Saturday for “disruptive interactions with colleagues” and said he would refrain from “actively participating” in his current shows.
Rudin, who has won a number of prestigious productions awards not only on the stage but also in Hollywood, has once again been subjected to a long history of tyrannical behavior towards workers in his office, according to a recent article in The Hollywood Reporter. He apologized in a written statement first given to the Washington Post.
“After a period of reflection, I have decided to withdraw from active participation in our Broadway productions with immediate effect,” he said in the statement. “My roles will be filled by other members of the Broadway community and, in some cases, the list of attendees already on those shows.”
Rudin, a prolific star play producer whose biggest Broadway hit is the long-running musical “The Book of Mormon,” acknowledged concerns about his lack of detail. Through a spokesman, he declined a request for an interview.
“Much has been written about my history of problematic interactions with colleagues, and I am deeply sorry for the pain my behavior has caused individuals, both directly and indirectly,” he said in the statement. “I am now taking steps I should have taken years ago to address this behavior.”
Rudin has been followed for decades by reports of threatening, berating, and pelting objects at people who work in his office, but in an entertainment industry with a long history where people who produce recognized art have tolerated bad behavior, continued to be successful.
The Hollywood Reporter article, published at a time of growing concern about abusive behavior in many areas of society, described an assistant who said Rudin threw him a baked potato and a previous incident in which Rudin allegedly used a computer monitor on another got shattered hand of the assistant.
In the past week, some artists had started to publicly express concerns about his dominant role in the industry. As Karen Olivo, a Tony nominated star on Moulin Rouge! The Musical, which was not produced by Rudin, announced a plan last week not to return to that show if performances resume. Inviting others to speak up, Olivo said, “The silence about Scott Rudin: unacceptable. “
Rudin is known as a detail-oriented producer who deals with all aspects of his shows, from casting to marketing. His statement on Saturday failed to explain what it means to withdraw from active participation, which sparked immediate skepticism in some areas of the entertainment industry.
The Actors’ Equity Association, a union that represents more than 51,000 stage actors and stage managers, urged Rudin to release his former employees from nondisclosure agreements that, in some cases, prevent them from describing their experience in his employment relationship.
“We have heard from hundreds of members that these allegations are inexcusable and that everyone deserves a secure job, whether or not they are union members,” said union president Kate Shindle and executive director Mary McColl in a statement.
Actors Equity, along with SAG-AFTRA and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802, issued a statement on Monday saying, “No worker should be subjected to bullying or harassment,” but did not mention Rudin by name.
62-year-old Rudin has been a dominant figure in the American entertainment industry for years. He’s one of the few people known as EGOTs for winning the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards, and he’s been able to combine a keen eye for casting with relationships in the film and theater industries to get into both Areas to put together many star projects.
Although he worked as a studio manager in Hollywood for a while, many of his most famous projects have been on the stage in recent years. He recently produced NY PopsUp, a series of government funded performances to remind people of the value of the performing arts and to keep some artists busy during the pandemic.
Rudin had a significant number of projects in the works, and his move appears to be intentional to continue these projects without the distraction of protests about his behavior.
The most anticipated of these projects was a revival of “The Music Man,” starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, which was scheduled to begin previewing on December 20th and open on February 10th.
But he also had three shows before the coronavirus pandemic closed Broadway that were candidates to reopen once New York’s commercial theater was back at full capacity: “The Book of Mormon”; “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a successful adaptation of the Harper Lee novel; and “West Side Story”, an adventurous revival of the beloved classic.
“My passionate hope and expectation is that Broadway will reopen successfully very soon and that the many talented artists associated with it will thrive again and share their art with the world,” Rudin said in the statement. “I don’t want any controversy related to me to interrupt the well-deserved return of Broadway, or the return of the 1,500 people who work on these shows in particular.”
Cara Buckley contributed to the coverage.