NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Scott Rudin, one of the biggest producers on Broadway, is stepping back from his duties amid accusations that he was abusive to colleagues.
Rudin was supposed to be the lead producer of the upcoming revival of “The Music Man,” starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, but now he is reportedly removing himself from “active participation” in his current shows after recent reports of verbal abuse and a toxic culture in his office.READ MORE: Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo Charged With Misdemeanor Forcible Touching
The 62-year-old has been behind recent hits like “Hello, Dolly!” starring Bette Midler, “The Iceman Cometh” with Denzel Washington” and “The Ferryman,” which won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2019.
Rudin released the following statement Saturday:
“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. 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. 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.”
The move comes more than a week after The Hollywood Reporter’s cover story on Rudin contained accounts of the producing heavyweight throwing glass bowls, staples and baked potatoes at former employees and smashing a computer monitor on an assistant’s hand. In his statement Saturday he did not deny the allegations.
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.
Theater worker Brian Cook told CBS2’s Cory James he has worked on Rudin’s productions but never experienced his alleged rage.
“Everyone who knows his name knows the story of Scott Rudin,” Cook said.READ MORE: Inside Look At 9 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn's First 'Supertall' Skyscraper
He says he has friends who witnessed the toxic culture.
“Every meeting was a screaming match on the phone, having to mute him just to let him drone on, to let his terror run its course and then the meeting continued,” he said.
The report also prompted Tony Award winner Karen Olivo to pull out of returning to “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” which is not a Rudin production, once it reopens, saying “building a better industry is more important than putting money in my pockets.”
“The silence about Scott Rudin? Unacceptable. Unacceptable,” they said in a video posted to Instagram. “People are more important than your pocketbook … I want a theater industry that matches my integrity.”
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 “The Music Man” is set to run once it opens. 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.”
CBS2 reached out to the Broadway League for comment, but the organization declined at this time.MORE NEWS: Student, 14, Arrested With Loaded Handgun At Brooklyn High School
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)