Theater Unions Denounce Workplace Abuse in Wake of Scott Rudin Allegations

Ethan Shanfeld
·3-min read

Leaders of SAG-AFTRA, Actors’ Equity Association and American Federation of Musicians Local 802 released a joint statement condemning workplace harassment, bullying and violent behavior in the wake of the allegations made against producer Scott Rudin.

“Every worker deserves to do their job in an environment free of harassment of any kind, whether that harassment creates a toxic workplace or, certainly in the case of sexual harassment, when that behavior is also against the law,” the statement reads.

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While the statement does not explicitly mention Rudin, it comes just days after The Hollywood Reporter published an exposé about the producer’s abusive behavior.

In the piece, published April 7, ex-staffers of the producer detailed instances such as when Rubin allegedly threw a glass bowl at an employee, causing the HR person to leave in an ambulance due to a panic attack, and smashed a computer monitor onto an assistant’s hand, leaving him bleeding and in need of emergency medical attention. The article also describes Rubin’s tantrums, racist outbursts and the high rate of turnover among his assistants and executives.

Since the article’s publication, other individuals who have worked with Rudin have spoken out about his abusive behavior as well. Annapurna CEO Megan Ellison, who executive produced the 2010 “True Grit” remake alongside Rudin, tweeted that the Reporter piece “barely scratches the surface of Scott Rudin’s abusive, racist, and sexist behavior.”

Broadway producer Jonathan Demar called out Rudin’s behavior on Instagram and wrote in a tweet that “there were plenty of those who supported Scott Rudin even as this behavior was taking place.” In a separate tweet, Demar noted that “there has been a culture that has allowed/celebrated it.”

Rudin has not yet commented on the accusations. Variety has reached out to the producer for a response to the unions’ statement.

Read the unions’ statement in its entirety below:

“Every worker deserves to do their job in an environment free of harassment of any kind, whether that harassment creates a toxic workplace or, certainly in the case of sexual harassment, when that behavior is also against the law.

“All harassment is not only detrimental to the health and welfare of workers, but also a serious threat to the proper functioning of a company. Thus, every corporate Board of Directors should be deeply alarmed by credible reports of long-standing, repeated violent and aggressive harassing behavior by individuals who hold high positions within a company or on a production and exercise management power over subordinates. Workers who come forward to blow the whistle in these situations are incredibly brave and we applaud their courage.

“No worker should be subjected to bullying or harassment, whether or not they are a union member. Over the past several years, our nation has finally begun to reckon seriously with harassment of all forms in the entertainment industry and beyond. As organizations representing more than 200,000 members in the arts, entertainment and media, we unreservedly condemn workplace harassment in all its forms. 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.

“We demand action on the part of our corporate counterparts to swiftly address credible allegations of harassment.”

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