'First Wives Club' producer Scott Rudin apologizes for pain his behavior may have caused

Francesca Gariano
·4 min read

Scott Rudin announced on Saturday that he will be stepping back from his recent productions following the allegations of workplace violence and abuse made against him earlier this month.

“After a period of reflection, I’ve made the decision to step back from active participation on our Broadway productions, effective immediately,” Rudin wrote in a statement to TODAY. “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.

The statement continued, reading, “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,” he wrote. “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.”

Scott Rudin (Kevin Winter)
Scott Rudin (Kevin Winter)

Rudin, 62, has won 17 Tony Awards for his work on Broadway, including shows like "The Book of Mormon," the 2017 revival of "Hello, Dolly!" starring Bette Midler and the 2010 revival of "Fences" starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. He also produced the celebrated 2018 production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" based on the 1960 novel of the same name by Harper Lee, adapted for the stage by Aaron Sorkin.

His films include the Academy Award-winning best picture "No Country for Old Men," as well as "Lady Bird," "The Social Network," "School of Rock," "The First Wives Club," "Clueless," "The Addams Family" and eight Wes Anderson films, among others.

Earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter detailed numerous allegations against Rudin for abusive behavior in the workplace. These allegations included a 2012 incident that involved allegedly smashing a computer monitor on an assistant’s hand, another instance where an executive coordinator claimed he had thrown a laptop at a window in a conference room, as well as threw a glass bowl at a colleague.

In a joint statement following the publishing of these allegations, Kate Shindle, president of the Actors’ Equity Association, Gabrielle Carteris, president of SAG-AFTRA, and Adam Krauthamer, president and executive director of the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 released a joint statement demanding action to address the allegations, writing in part, “We pledge to work together, and with other allies, to hold accountable those who violate human and legal norms of fair, respectful and dignified conduct in the workplace.”

On April 15, Karen Olivo, one of Broadway’s top Latina actors, announced that she will not be returning to “Moulin Rouge” when Broadway performances resume. She announced her decision in a video on Instagram, telling fans, “I don’t need to be on stage, I need to be out here. People are more important than your pocketbook.”

“That’s it, that’s all that needs to be said from here on out,” Olivo continued. “I value humanity more...I want a theater industry that matches my integrity.”

Olivo continued, adding, “The silence about Scott Rudin? Unacceptable. Unacceptable.”

“That's the easy one, y'all,” she said. “That's a monster. That should be a no-brainer. Those of you who say you're scared, what are you afraid of?"

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Following the release of Rudin’s statement, Shindle and executive director Mary McCollthe of the Actors’ Equity Association released another statement calling on the producer to release his employees from any nondisclosure agreements.

“We salute the courage of those who came forward,” the statement read in part. “We hope that Scott Rudin will also release his staff from any nondisclosure agreements they may have signed as a condition of employment.”

The statement from Shindle and McCollthe continued, reading, "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.”