Is Scott Rudin the rudest (and most ruthless) mogul of them all? There’s a good reason why Hollywood autocrats are called moguls. The word itself is derived from a Persian or Arabic word used to refer to the Mughal emperors, who claimed a heritage stretching back to Genghis Khan, the very epitome of ruthlessness and ferocity. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Rudin has been involved in the production of such Broadway shows at The God of Carnage and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Back-to-back stories this week in the Hollywood Reporter and Vanity Fair are delivering a double whammy to the already notorious reputation of the irascible producer, revealing some of the nefarious goings-on behind the curtain of the ironically named “entertainment” industry.
The headlines tell it all. Tatiana Siegel’s exposé in the Hollywood Reporter is titled “’Everyone Just Knows He’s an Abusive Monster’: Scott Rudin’s Ex-Staffers Speak Out on Abusive Behavior.” Following suit, Chris Murphy’s Vanity Fair piece is headlined “Scott Rudin Accused of Tyrannical and Abusive Behavior by Former Employees.”
Both articles recount a lengthy dirty-laundry list of punishments – both corporal and mental – inflicted on cowering employees by a boss who seems to have done everything to gall his HR departments short of producing a sequel to Tyrannosaurus Rex.
In an industry already reeling from the #MeToo controversies, Rudin’s behavior appears more sadistic than sexual. Interestingly, Rudin was involved in a public spat with Harvey Weinstein twenty years ago when they were working on The Hours, telling a reporter: “When I’m doing a Miramax movie, I work for him. And I don’t like that feeling. I chafe under that. I especially chafe under it when I feel that I’m on a leash.”
Unleashed, Rudin is remembered as having perpetrated a plethora of violent incidents. A staffer was once sent to the emergency room when Rudin allegedly smashed a computer monitor against him, a volcanic outburst described by Siegel as a “cacophonous collision of metal, glass and limb.” In his article, Murphy citied a New York Post article alleging that Rudin had “pushed assistants out of moving cars and fired assistants for bringing him the wrong muffin, mispronouncing names, and, at least in one instance, [for] having to attend a funeral.
Rudin was also accused of temper tantrums in which he lobbed office equipment at employees, ranging from staplers to laptops to glass bowls. Former colleague Andrew Coles told, ” it was a very intense environment, but that just felt different. It was a new level of unhinged — a level of lack of control that I had never seen before in a workplace.”
Megan Ellison, the CEO of Annapurna, slammed producer Scott Rudin in a Tweet Wednesday for his “abusive, racist and sexist” behavior following an exposé that detailed some of the producer’s alleged treatment of his assistants and staff. She said “This piece barely scratches the surface of Scott Rudin’s abusive, racist, and sexist behavior. Similarly to Harvey, too many are afraid to speak out. I support and applaud those who did. There’s good reason to be afraid because he’s vindictive and has no qualms about lying.”