Scott Rudin has been a famous movie producer for many decades, and he’s executive-produced and developed multiple Oscar-winning productions over the years. I remember when I realized that Rudin was a nasty, backstabbing, abusive, melodramatic bitch though: the 2014 Sony Hack, where reams of internal Sony emails were hacked by North Korea in retaliation for Seth Rogen’s dumb movie The Interview. Remember when Rudin called Angelina Jolie a “minimally talented spoiled brat” and a “camp event” with a “rampaging spoiled ego”? Rudin talks about nearly everyone that way except David Fincher. He loooves David Fincher. Anyway, the Sony Hack was a terrible look for Rudin but he survived it and now here we are: the Hollywood Reporter has a huge story about how, shock of shocks, Scott Rudin has been a physically and emotionally abusive bully to staff and coworkers for years. You can read the THR story here.
Halloween 2012: At about 4:15 p.m. — more than 10 hours into a typical Rudin day that began at 6 and never wrapped before 8 — the Oscar-winning producer was enraged that one of his assistants failed to get him a seat on a sold-out flight. In a fit of fury, he allegedly smashed an Apple computer monitor on the assistant’s hand. The screen shattered, leaving the young man bleeding and in need of immediate medical attention. One person in the office at the time described the incident as sounding like a car crash: a cacophonous collision of metal, glass and limb. The wounded assistant headed to the emergency room, and Rudin called his lawyer, according to another staffer there that Halloween afternoon. Everyone else huddled in the conference room, shaken.
Caroline Rugo describes her experiences working with Rudin: “He threw a laptop at the window in the conference room and then went into the kitchen and we could hear him beating on the napkin dispenser. Then another time he threw a glass bowl at [a colleague]. It’s hard to say if he threw it in the general direction or specifically at [the colleague], but the glass bowl hit the wall and smashed everywhere. The HR person left in an ambulance due to a panic attack. That was the environment.”
Rugo left & now works for Netflix: “I got fired for having Type 1 diabetes, which is a federally protected disability,” says Rugo, who now works in development at Netflix. “I one hundred percent could have sued him. But I didn’t because of the fear of being blacklisted. But I’ve worked at Netflix for a year and a half now. And it was such a shock to the system because it’s one of the most respectful and progressive workplaces in terms of employee relations. Now that I have established myself here and I am a part of a team where my opinions are respected and welcomed, I have no issue speaking out about Scott. Everyone just knows he’s an absolute monster.”
Ryan Nelson, Rudin’s assistance in 2018-19: He says he experienced and witnessed so much mistreatment, including the producer throwing a stapler at a theater assistant and calling him a “r-tard,” that he left the industry altogether. “Every day was exhausting and horrific,” he says. “Not even the way he abused me, but watching the way he abused the people around me who started to become my very close friends. You’re spending 14 hours a day with the same people, enduring the same abuse. It became this collective bond with these people.”
Rudin settles quickly, or there will be repercussions: Per a knowledgeable legal source, bullying claims against Rudin never see the light of day and are settled quietly. Fear of reprisals has kept many from speaking out. Employees typically sign a non-disparagement agreement. And several sources for this piece consulted with an attorney before proceeding, even off the record. Rudin also has been known to change credits, both as incentive and punishment. Several sources say that the victim of the computer monitor incident received three associate producing credits in addition to a monetary settlement.
The next Rudin production coming out is The Woman in the Window, an Amy Adams film which had a fraught production mainly because of Rudin’s hissy fits. It comes out on Netflix, in case you want to avoid it. It’s difficult to avoid Rudin’s productions because he has produced some great films. But yeah, he’s an absolute monster. What’s sort of surprising to me is that after he was exposed as a massive a–hole in the Sony Hack, his behavior didn’t improve. If anything, it seemed to get much, much worse. Maybe he thought he was getting away with it so why not double-down. Disgusting. Destroy his career. I hope everyone he’s physically assaulted sues him and files charges.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.