Hugh Jackman joins an army of voices speaking out against the infamous producer Scott Rudin. The actor, set to play The Music Man on Broadway – produced by Scott Rudin – took to social media to weigh in.
“I want to say how much I respect and applaud the people that have spoken up about their experience working with Scott Rudin,” Jackman said in an all-cap statement. “It takes an enormous amount of courage and strength to stand up and state your truth.”
Their “truth” is a series of claims alleging that Scott Rudin, a producer in Hollywood and Broadway, is a bully and monster to those who work beneath him. The mega-producer, who is one of just 16 people to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony, has a reputation of being one of the worst bosses ever. And now people are speaking out – loudly.
The Hollywood Reporter published an exposé on the subject last month, describing Rudin’s long career, where he was given a pass on his volatile and toxic workplace demeanor. But in 2012 Rudin’s anger got the best of him, and he smashed an Apple computer on an employee’s hand in a fit of rage. The employee was rushed to the hospital and the normalcy at the office quickly shifted.
“We knew a lot could happen,” admitted Andrew Coles, who was a development executive. “There were the guys that were sleeping in the office, the guys whose hair was falling out and were developing ulcers. It was a very intense environment, but that just felt different. It was a new level of unhinged — a level of lack of control that I had never seen before in a workplace.”
This wasn’t the first time Rudin had exploded, but it was an incident that received a lot of press. According to Vulture, who spoke with 33 former employees of the To Kill A Mockingbird producer, the incidents were mere whispers for four decades. Those employees described the cruelty, intimidation, and bullying they endured at the hands of Scott Rudin. Those employees spoke with Vulture anonymously, still fearful of Rudin’s influence. They cited NDAs and vindictiveness.
A spokesperson for Rudin released a statement on his behalf, explaining that “Scott has acknowledged and apologized for the troubling office interactions that he has had with colleagues over the years.” Rudin “has announced that he is stepping back from his professional work, so that he can do the proper work to address these issues. That said, the ‘stories’ you have cited specifically herein are in most cases extreme exaggerations, frequently anonymous, second- and third-hand examples of urban legend.”
Theater-goers took to the streets to march in protest at the treatment of Rudin’s employees and those who worked so closely with him. “F— Scott Rudin,” was the chant heard across Midtown. Several hundred protestors gathered together in Columbus Circle on Thursday – theater-goers, actors, and crew members – looking for change in the entertainment industry. The group demanded better pay and a focus on diversity in hiring.
The New York Post reported that Moulin Rouge! Actor, Karen Olivo left the show because of the allegations facing Rudin. The actor attended the rally and march on Thursday alongside fellow actors and audience members.
The protests were the amalgamation of several different issues. In addition to demands for better treatment in the entertainment industry, some marchers also shouted: “Black Lives Matter!” and “Trans Lives Matter!”
The dismay at the Scott Rudin allegations was more apparent as marchers neared The Winter Garden Theatre, where Hugh Jackman is set to play in the revival of The Music Man, a production Rudin recently stepped down from.
Hugh Jackman continued his statement by saying: “This has started a conversation that is long overdue, not just on Broadway, and the entertainment industry, but across all workforce … I hope and pray this is a journey of healing for all the victims and the community.”
“We are currently rebuilding The Music Man team and are aspiring to create an environment that is not only safe, but ensures that everyone is seen, heard, and valued,” Jackman finished. “This is something that is and has always been very important to me.”