Following the investigation by The Hollywood Reporter that revealed the horrifying full extent of producer Scott Rudin’s infamous bullying and violence towards his staff, the entertainment industry has remained dishearteningly quiet. While a couple of big names have spoken out against the man whose reputation as a phone-throwing jerk has been common knowledge for years, the silence from the rest of the industry has been deafening.
This weekend, Rudin released a statement announcing that he would be ‘stepping back’ from work on Broadway, and that he was ‘I am profoundly sorry for the pain my behavior caused to individuals, directly and indirectly.’ It’s worth noting that Rudin and his team released this statement on the weekend, which is a typical publicist tactic to avoid major weekday coverage or scrutiny. That tells you a lot about the humility of Rudin’s claim. His announcement that he would be ‘stepping back’ also opened up a lot of questions as to what this action would look like. Is he taking his name off upcoming productions like the revival of The Music Man? Is he entering anger management therapy or removing himself from positions of power over others? Is he doing anything with even the vaguest sense of tangible growth or accountability? Ha.
The Hollywood Reporter quoted sources close to the production of The Music Man stars Sutton Foster and Hugh Jackman. Apparently, the latter was ‘very concerned’ about the claims, but he didn’t threaten to leave the show or make any ultimatums to Rudin. That would have been too much like hard work, I suppose, for Ivanka and Murdoch’s BFF. But Foster did apparently say she’d leave the musical if Rudin didn’t go.
Foster, a two-time Tony winner and star of Younger, addressed the Rudin situation in an Instagram live conversation with performer and personal trainer Beth Nicely on Sunday. She said:
It’s an unbelievably unfortunate situation and the only positive outcome is the one that happened, and I know Hugh feels the same way. I know we’ve both committed to creating an amazing environment for everybody involved.
I didn’t feel like I needed to post [about] it. didn’t feel like that was something I needed to do because it becomes like a reactionary thing. For me it was I needed to take a step back and make sure the decision I made was mine and not based on the noise of social media. That’s who I am, that’s my integrity, that’s my spirit. I feel like the only positive outcome is the one that happened.
I apologize if it seemed like I wasn’t actively trumpeting my feelings but I felt like with the noise I couldn’t get a clear mind…I’m really excited about retuning to Broadway and may we just continue the change and that’s all I’m going to say.
Sutton Foster addresses the Scott Rudin controversy. pic.twitter.com/gnxrwd2JtE— OnStage Blog (@OnstageBlog) April 18, 2021
Also on Sunday, the twin brother of a former assistant of Rudin called out the producer in an emotional video on Twitter. David Graham-Caso, who is the deputy chief of staff and communications director for L.A. council member Mike Bonin, explained how his identical twin Kevin Blake Graham-Caso suffered ‘horrific abuse’ at the hands of Rudin over the eight months he worked with him, which resulted in extreme trauma that he struggled to deal with. Kevin died by suicide last year, something that his brother partly lay at the feed of Rudin.
‘You berated and demeaned, bullied and intimidated, and harassed him for eight solid months. It was so intense that he developed anxiety and depression and post-traumatic stress and, like many survivors of traumatic abuse, he soon found himself in another abusive relationship later on in his life. It was so intense that last October he took his own life.
This message is to let you know that moving forward, I’m going to make sure that people know that when they choose to work with you, they’re choosing to work with a bully. They are choosing to work with a racist. They are choosing to work with a small and petty person who hurts those who help him succeed. I’m going to make sure people know the value and importance of a union and the sort of protections that need to be in place to stop feckless thugs like you from ruining the lives of the people who work for you.’
The full statement is extremely powerful and worth your time.
A message to Scott Rudin. pic.twitter.com/mvOqTvH2S9— David Graham-Caso (@dgrahamcaso) April 18, 2021
Graham-Caso later expanded on the details to Variety, noting that Rudin allegedly forced his brother out of a moving car. The story about Rudin having done this to at least one assistant is the stuff of legend, with Page Six detailing it many years before. It’s unknown if Kevin Black Graham-Caso was the only one this happened to.
Variety noted that various companies working with Rudin, including Netflix and A24, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this matter. Frankly, I think that’ll be the default mode going forward. Sure, Rudin won’t be in the rehearsal room for The Music Man but will he still get to go on stage at the Tonys if it wins awards? Will his name become synonymous with much-anticipated movies and TV shows gathering major buzz and awards anticipation? Will the Coen Brothers or Wes Anderson or the executives at FX eventually start returning his calls once it’s less publicly embarrassing to do so? Scott Rudin is not only extremely powerful but still at the top of his game. He’s still making a lot of money for a lot of people, and all the highers-up who never have to worry about developing post-traumatic stress or having their hands smashed with a computer screen can continue to play the game of blissful ignorance.
Everyone in Hollywood works with Scott Rudin. Half of Broadway works with Scott Rudin. His name is on a plethora of TV shows you probably watch regularly. He is everywhere and in a profit-first industry, people are acceptable collateral damage for the accumulation of cash. Hollywood’s silence right now is sickening, and Rudin’s faux-sadness and ‘stepping back’ is a pathetic act of narcissism that reveals how little he truly cares about the damage he’s caused.
Call me when Aaron Sorkin starts speaking out against his former colleague Rudin. Or the Coens. Or the Safdie brothers. Or Jonah Hill. Or Wes Anderson. Or producers like Dana Brunetti, Michael de Luca, Eli Bush, Amy Pascal, and Andrew Macdonald, to name but five. Call me when the industry finally realizes how f**king horrific it is for them to ignore mass trauma and criminal behavior. I feel like I’ll be waiting for a while…
Header Image Source: Getty Images.