Producer Scott Rudin will “step back” from his film and streaming projects in addition to his Broadway productions in the wake of allegations about his abusive workplace behavior. Rudin, whose upcoming films include Netflix’s “The Woman in the Window” and A24’s “The Humans,” said he will “take the time to work on personal issues I should have long ago.”
The announcement comes as top talent and studios had grown wary of working with Rudin following a report in The Hollywood Reporter that provided detailed accounts of bullying of subordinates. The new comments follow a Saturday missive in which Rudin said he was “stepping back” from Broadway, his primary axis of power over the last decade. He has produced such hits as “The Book of Mormon” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
“When I commented over the weekend, I was focused on Broadway reopening successfully and not wanting my previous behavior to detract from everyone’s efforts to return,” Rudin said. “It’s clear to me I should take the same path in film and streaming. I am profoundly sorry for the pain my behavior has caused and I take this step with a commitment to grow and change.”
It is not entirely clear what “stepping back” will entail, if Rudin will profit from the projects and if he will continue to be credited as a producer.
“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,” Rudin said.
In The Hollywood Reporter story, Rudin was depicted throwing things at employees, including a stapler and baked potato, berating staffers and threatening them with career retribution if they left his employment, and smashing a computer monitor on the hand of an assistant, sending him to the emergency room.
Rudin’s fall is a sign that the movement around workplace culture that initially focused largely on issues of sexual harassment has moved into other forms of abusive behavior. It could have consequences for other hot-tempered executives and power players who have a reputation for demeaning their staff.
Initially, actors, Broadway players and filmmakers were largely silent about the allegations. That changed over the weekend. During an Instagram live conversation, Sutton Foster, who was set to star in a Rudin-produced revival of “The Music Man,” spoke on behalf of herself and her co-star, Hugh Jackman. Foster said both actors hoped to create “an incredible, safe, inclusive, loving, amazing environment for everyone involved.”
Also on Sunday, the twin brother of former Rudin assistant Kevin Graham-Caso addressed the producer in an emotional social media post, demanding “real consequences” from the entertainment industry for Rudin’s alleged behavior. Friends of the late assistant spoke to Variety on Monday, offering emails from the time echoing Graham-Caso’s brother’s claims that the time working under the producer had been emotionally damaging.
Rudin is one of the most successful producers in entertainment history, having won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and 17 Tony Awards. His films include “No Country for Old Men,” “Lady Bird,” “The Firm” and “The Truman Show.” He was still active in the prestige space, recently acquiring the rights to the best-seller “Shuggie Bain,” but no longer had the major studio support that he once enjoyed. Tastes had shifted from the pedigreed dramas and comedies that Rudin preferred to make in favor of superhero fare, though he continued to work regularly.