Broadway star Karen Olivo says she won’t return to “Moulin Rouge” once the musical reopens. She’s leaving her Tony-nominated role in protest of the theater industry’s silence on allegations of workplace harassment and abuse leveled against the prolific theater producer Scott Rudin.
“I could easily go back to the show and make a lot of money, but I still wouldn’t be able to control what I was putting out into the world,” Olivo said Wednesday via Instagram Live. “And what I’m seeing in this space right now, with our industry, is that everybody is scared, and nobody is really doing a lot of the stuff that needs to be done. People aren’t speaking out.”
She specifically called out the behavior of Rudin, who was the subject of a scathing expose in the Hollywood Reporter. The report, published earlier in April, detailed instances of alleged abusive behavior to his employees, including tantrums, racist outbursts and violent behavior.
“The silence about Scott Rudin — unacceptable,” she said. “That one’s easy, y’all. That’s a monster. That should be a no-brainer. Those of you that say you’re scared, what are you afraid of? Shouldn’t you be more afraid of not saying something and more people getting hurt?”
Though Rudin didn’t have a hand in the stage version of “Moulin Rouge,” he is one of Broadway’s most successful producers. Before Broadway went dark due to the pandemic, “Moulin Rouge” was one of the most popular shows on the Great White Way and received numerous Tony Award nominations.
“Social justice is actually more important than being the sparkling diamond,” Olivo said. “Building a better industry for my students is more important than me putting money in my pockets.”
She encouraged people to practice humanity and reiterated that money should not be the motivating factor in people’s actions.
“People are more important than your pocketbook,” she concluded. “I want a theater industry that matches my integrity. It’s not here, obviously. Let’s go make it.
More to come…
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