“Younger” actress Sutton Foster opened up on Sunday about producer Scott Rudin stepping back from involvement on his Broadway shows like “The Music Man” — in which Foster stars — in light of a scathing expose of his workplace abusive behavior, calling it an “unbelievably unfortunate situation.”
“I apologize if it seems like I wasn’t actively trumpeting my feelings, but I feel like the noise of — I couldn’t get a clear mind, and I really needed to step away,” Foster said, explaining why she chose not to discuss the Rudin allegations until now. “I never had to deal with anyone like this before, and I think 46 years on this Earth deserves that. I’m mature enough 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,” she added, referring to Rudin’s decision to step back from his plays and film productions in light of the story. As for Foster’s co-star on “The Music Man,” Hugh Jackman, she said, “I know Hugh feels exactly the same way and I think we are both committed to creating an amazing environment for everyone involved.”
On April 7, The Hollywood Reporter released a cover story featuring on-the-record accusations of physical and verbal abuse by Rudin, an EGOT-winning producer with 17 Tony Awards to his name. One former assistant said that Rudin threw a baked potato at his head when he couldn’t explain why someone from indie studio A24 had arrived in his office, while another described a similar incident where Rudin threw a stapler at one of his employees and called them a “retard.”
“Every day was exhausting and horrific,” the assistant said. “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.”
On Friday, Rudin released a statement to The Washington Post apologizing for his behavior.
“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,” the statement read. “After a period of reflection, I’ve made the decision to step back from active participation on our Broadway productions, effective immediately. My roles will be filled by others from the Broadway community and in a number of cases, from the roster of participants already in place on those shows.”
But anti-harassment organization Time’s Up says that’s not enough, demanding in a statement on Sunday that Rudin release his former staffers from their non-disclosure agreements.
“For far too long, this abusive behavior has been a stepping stone to success in Hollywood and on Broadway — but those days are over,” Time’s Up said. “No one should have to endure the kind of abhorrent mistreatment that has been reported and live under fear of retaliation. We still don’t know the full extent of what occurred. That’s why TIME’S UP demands Scott Rudin release his former staff from any nondisclosure agreements. Doing so is critical to truly creating workplaces where every employee feels safe and respected across all industries.”
Watch Foster’s remarks in the clip above.