Broadway star Karen Olivo departs Moulin Rouge! in protest against Scott Rudin

Keiran Southern
·2 min read

Broadway star Karen Olivo said she will not return to a production of Moulin Rouge! in protest against Scott Rudin, the famed producer facing allegations of abusive behaviour.

Rudin, a powerful figure in Hollywood and on Broadway, is alleged to have bullied staff and physically attacked them.

The Hollywood Reporter said he smashed a computer monitor on an assistant’s hand and threw a stapler and a baked potato at staff in other incidents.

Rudin, an Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award winner, does not produce Moulin Rouge! but Olivo said she had to take a stand against abuse in the theatre industry.

In a video posted to Instagram, the 44-year-old said: “Social justice is actually more important than being a sparkling diamond. Building a better industry for my students is more important than me putting money in my pockets.

Watch: Karen Olivo Of "Moulin Rouge! The Musical" Goes Over The Broadway Hit

“The silence about Scott Rudin? Unacceptable. Unacceptable. That’s the easy one, y’all. That’s a monster. That should be a no-brainer. Those of you who say you’re scared, what are you afraid of?

“Shouldn’t you be more afraid of not saying something and more people getting hurt?”

Olivo, who won a Tony Award in 2009 for West Side Story and who is nominated for playing Satine in Moulin Rouge!, criticised the industry for putting profit over people.

The 80th Academy Awards – Press Room – Los Angeles
(L-R) Ethan Coen, Scott Rudin and Joel Coen. Rudin has been accused of abusive behaviour (PA)

“People are more important than your pocketbook,” she said.

“Let’s put our money with people who value human life and respect human life. It’s easy.”

Rudin, 62, has been contacted for comment.

His films include some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed, including the best picture winner No Country For Old Men, as well as Lady Bird, Fences, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is on a pandemic-enforced break, with Broadway’s lights remaining dimmed amid the health crisis.

However, the production thanked Olivo for her work on the show.

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In a statement, producers said: “Moulin Rouge! The Musical is forever indebted to @Karenolivo’s artistry, passion, and craft in creating the role of Satine on stage. We applaud and support Karen’s advocacy work to create a safe, diverse, and equitable theatre industry for all.

“Karen has been an indelible influence on our show from its beginning, and words cannot properly express our gratitude.

“We wish Karen great success, and above all, love.”

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