Nearly two weeks after The Hollywood Reporter (THR) dropped its bombshell report alleging that top Hollywood producer Scott Rudin regularly engaged in workplace (physical and mental) abuse, the Oscar-winner has finally broken his silence to say he is “profoundly sorry.”
In a statement released on Saturday, Rudin said that he will be stepping away from his role in current Broadway productions as he takes “certain steps” to address his behavior.
“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,” Rudin said.
“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. I am now taking steps that I should have taken years ago to address this behavior,” he added.
“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 1,500 people working on these shows,” he concluded.
Rudin did not say if he will also temporarily stop producing films. As The Associated Press noted, the Broadway community has been intensely forceful in their condemnation of Rudin’s behavior while Hollywood has remained mostly silent.
The revelations in The Hollywood Reporter also prompted the performers’ unions SAG-AFTRA, Actors Equity and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 to come together condemn illegal harassment and harassment that creates a toxic work environment for entertainment employees.
The revelations also prompted Tony Award-winner Karen Olivo to pull out of returning to “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” once it reopens. There are also plans for a protest March on Broadway on Wednesday, with stops at both Rudin’s office as well as the Winter Garden Theatre, where Rudin is producing the Broadway revival of “The Music Man.” There’s also a campaign to persuade Actors’ Equity Association to add Rudin to a Do Not Work list.
In addition to “The Music Man,” Rudin’s current slate of Broadway shows includes “The Book of Mormon,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and a revival of “West Side Story.” It was unclear if Rudin would also step back from producing films, which includes the upcoming “The Humans” and “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”
Neither Aaron Sorkin, Wes Anderson, the Coen Brothers, Trey Parker, nor Paul Thomas Anderson — all of whom collaborated with Rudin on several projects — have issued a statement denouncing his behavior. Thus far, the biggest name in the industry to publicly rebuke Rudin is Annapurna co-founder Megan Ellison. In a tweet earlier this month, Ellison alleged that Rudin engaged in sexist and racist behavior beyond the allegations of physical and mental abuse detailed in the THR article.
“This piece barely scratches the surface of Scott Rudin’s abusive, racist, and sexist behavior. Similarly to Harvey, too many are afraid to speak out. I support and applaud those who did. There’s good reason to be afraid because he’s vindictive and has no qualms about lying,” she tweeted.
In a lengthy expose for THR, several of Rudin’s former staffers alleged that the producer, who already had a reputation for being hot-tempered, would regularly engage in verbally and physically abusive behavior in the office. One particularly nasty incident involved him allegedly smashing an Apple computer over an assistant’s hand, sending him to the emergency room.