toxic workplaces

The Music Man Star Sutton Foster Responds to Abuse Allegations Against Producer Scott Rudin

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Last week, Moulin Rouge! star Karen Olivo left the show to show support for those who have made abuse allegations against producer Scott Rudin earlier this month. “The silence about Scott Rudin? Unacceptable,” she said. “That’s the easy one, y’all. That’s a monster.” By contrast, many felt Sutton Foster and Hugh Jackman, the stars of Rudin’s hot-ticket Broadway revival The Music Man, were disappointedly quiet about the accusations that Rudin physically and psychologically harassed his subordinates throughout his career. On Sunday, Foster finally addressed the allegations, detailed in an April 7 Hollywood Reporter story, and Rudin’s decision to step away from his Broadway productions on Saturday. Said the Younger star about Rudin’s exit: “The only positive outcome is the one that is happening.”

Foster weighed in on the situation Sunday in an Instagram Live conversation with fellow stage performer Beth Nicely, according to the Hollywood Reporter. THR had previously reported Foster had threatened to leave The Music Man if Rudin didn’t step away. “I am so honored to be a part of The Music Man and I can’t wait to create an incredible, safe, inclusive, loving environment for everyone involved, and that’s all I care about moving forward,” said the actress.

“I apologize if it seems like I wasn’t actively trumpeting my feelings, but I felt like the noise of — I couldn’t get a clear mind, and I really needed to step away,” explained Foster. “I never had to deal with anything like this before, and I think 46 years on this Earth deserves that. I’m mature enough to be able to take the time, and I think people should allow it. I really am excited about returning to Broadway, and may we just continue the change and that’s all I’m going to say. I just feel, really, it’s an unbelievably unfortunate situation, but the only positive outcome is the one that is happening.” Added Foster, “And I know Hugh feels exactly the same way.”

In his announcement about stepping away from his current productions, which, before the shutdown, were To Kill a Mockingbird, West Side Story, and The Book of Mormon, Rudin apologized for his alleged years and years of abusive behavior. Said the 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.”

Update: In a video statement also released on Sunday, David Graham-Caso, the twin brother of Rudin’s former assistant Kevin Graham-Caso, called out the producer for intimidation and harassment, detailing how he believes Rudin’s abuse in the workplace contributed to his brother’s mental distress ahead of his suicide, and asked performers and studios to refuse to work with Rudin and “feckless thugs” like him to enact actual change.

“I’m going to make sure that people know that when they choose to work with you, they are choosing to work with a bully,” he says. “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 that 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 with you.”

In an interview with Variety, Graham-Caso alleges, among other abuses, that Rudin once shoved his brother out of a moving car. Suffering the producer’s vitriol, however, seemed like the price one had to pay to make it in the industry. “He never wanted to speak out, he always felt it would be the iron nail in the coffin of his career, it would be admitting that he would never make it,” says Graham-Caso of his twin. “But when the Hollywood Reporter [article] hit, I felt it was an opportunity to really do right and share his story and his truth and hopefully help other people.” Concludes Graham-Caso’s message to Rudin: “The abuse you inflict has consequences, and real consequences are coming for you.”

Sutton Foster Responds to Scott Rudin Abuse Allegations