Top US producer 'steps back' from Broadway over bullying claims

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Nick Allen
·2 min read
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Scott Rudin arrives at the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills in 2011 - AP/AP
Scott Rudin arrives at the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills in 2011 - AP/AP

A top producer has apologised and "stepped back" from Broadway after being accused of a campaign of bullying that allegedly included hurling a baked potato at an underling.

Scott Rudin, 62, has produced a host of Broadway hits and major Hollywood movies, including The Social Network and No Country for Old Men.

He is one of the few people to have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. Earlier this month an expose by the The Hollywood Reporter included claims from former employees that Mr Rudin threw objects at them including glass bowls and staples.

In one alleged incident he was accused of breaking a computer monitor on an assistant's hand after they failed to get him a seat on a flight.

Another former assistant said Mr Rudin "flipped out" and threw a baked potato at his head after he informed the entertainment mogul that an unexpected client was waiting in the lobby.

"I dodged a big potato," the former employee said. "He was like, ‘Well, find out, and get me a new potato.'”

One former assistant said the working environment was a "new level of unhinged." In a statement Mr Rudin did not deny the allegations. He said: "Much has been written about my history of troubling interactions with colleagues, and I am profoundly sorry for the pain my behaviour caused to individuals, directly and indirectly.

"I am now taking steps that I should have taken years ago to address this behaviour." Mr Rudin added: “After a period of reflection, I’ve made the decision to step back from active participation on our Broadway productions, effective immediately."

Karen Olivo, the Tony Award-winning actress, had already pulled out of "Moulin Rouge! The Musical" and there were plans for a protest march on Broadway next week. Mr Rudin is currently producing Broadway revivals of of West Side Story, The Music Man, and has productions of the The Book of Mormon, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

The Actors’ Equity Association, which represents more than 51,000 theatre actors and stage managers, called on Mr Rudin to allow former employees to speak openly.

It said: "We hope that Scott Rudin will also release his staff from any nondisclosure agreements they may have signed as a condition of employment. "This is an important step in creating truly safe and harassment-free theatrical workplaces on Broadway and beyond."