World news – The former employees of the film and theater producer Scott Rudin report abusive behavior

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The film and theater producer Scott Rudin routinely bullied, abused and thrown things at his employees, according to a Hollywood Reporter cover story by Tatiana Siegel. Rudin’s films, including Best Picture Winner No Country for Old Men, have garnered 151 Academy Award nominations and 23 wins over the years, while his plays earned him 17 Tony Awards. That may explain why his career has lasted so long, even though, according to former assistant Caroline Rugo, « everyone knows he’s an absolute monster ». A Rudin spokesman declined to comment on the Hollywood Reporter’s specific allegations regarding the producer’s behavior, including:

• Smashing a computer monitor on the hand of an unnamed assistant tough enough to close the glass break and send the assistant to the emergency room. 30 and 6:00 – then ask the assistant to skip it or « work faster ». • During a meeting with a publicist, throw a laptop against a window in the conference room, then retreat into the office kitchen and smash a napkin dispenser. • Throwing a glass bowl at an employee and shattering it in an incident that caused one of their HR staff to have a panic attack that was severe enough to require an ambulance. • Throw a baked potato to an assistant. • Throwing a stapler at another assistant. • Throw a teacup at another assistant tough enough to punch a hole in the wall. • Itting an employee falsely accused of theft to kill a job offer at another company.

Stories of Scott Rudin’s behavior have been circulating for decades – the abusive boss at Swimming With Sharks is supposedly based on him – but like the Hollywood Reporter stresses, Rudin’s abuse has often been turned positively in the past. A 2005 Wall Street Journal profile titled « Boss-Zilla » contained similar stories of bullying and thrown office supplies. It noted that « caustic name-calling, screeching threats, and impulsive shots are routine, » and incidentally mentioned Rudin had employed 119 assistants in the past five years (excluding those who washed themselves out before their two-week probationary period expired). And that was a positive story that gave Rudin the space to refer to his office as « hard scrabble » and remark, « The thin-skinned guys don’t like it … The thick-skinned people … understand that I work just as hard Like her. « In the Hollywood Reporter’s story that Rudin didn’t comment on, Ryan Nelson, who served as Rudin’s executive assistant from 2018 to 2019, paints a different portrait of the office environment:

Every day has been exhausting and terrible . Not even how he abused me, but how he abused the people around me who started to become my closest friends. They spend 14 hours a day with the same people and suffer the same abuse. It became that collective bond with these people.

Tacitly enduring Rudin’s abuse was reportedly associated with career benefits – the 2005 profile is full of former assistants working in high-profile Hollywood jobs after a business trip to his office – and the Hollywood Reporter story claims Rudin silently resigned himself to those who protested while using non-degrading agreements to ensure their stories were buried. The nameless victim of the monitor smashing incident allegedly received three employees who presented loans and a cash receipt. Meanwhile, Siegel describes an environment of fear among Rudin’s former co-workers, some of whom consulted attorneys before speaking to her. Annapurna Pictures founder Megan Ellison, who described Rudin as a « maniac » in a 2014 email leaked, claimed on Twitter that there are many more stories to tell:

This piece barely scratches the surface of Scott Rudin’s Abusive, Racist, and Sexist Behavior. Similar to Harvey, too many are afraid to speak out. I support and applaud those who did it. There is good reason to be afraid because he is vengeful and has no qualms about lying. https://t.co/0iFSgzJx9T

As one of Rudin’s former assistants noted, the damage Rudin allegedly caused is not necessarily recoverable. “Hundreds and hundreds of people have suffered throughout his long career. And some have given up their dreams because he made them feel and believe that they cannot do whatever they try. « 

Matthew Dessem is Brow Beats Nights and Weekends Editor and writer of a biography for screenwriter and director Clyde Bruckman.

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