The New York Times has been accused of ‘killing’ an expose of abusive and bullying Hollywood producer Scott Rudin, who was one of the biggest advertisers in the paper’s Arts and Leisure section.
The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday claimed that the paper had a story with named sources in early 2020.
The story was timed to run before the weekend of the Oscars, on February 9, 2020.
It was also timed to run before the February 20, 2020 opening of West Side Story at the Broadway Theatre – a $15 million show, produced by Rudin.
But the story was inexplicably held.
The news comes as it’s reported that Rudin also spent $3 million a year with the paper in advertising.
Scott Rudin is pictured with Bette Midler and the cast of Hello, Dolly! at the 2017 Tony awards. The producer of stage and screen is now ‘stepping back’ from his productions after a devastating expose in April accusing him of bullying and physical abuse
Rudin is pictured with Ethan Coen (left) and Joel Coen at the Oscars, having won with No Country for Old Men in 2008
Protesters angered at Rudin’s behavior march down Broadway in New York City in April
A year after the Times held its own story, The Hollywood Reporter in April 2021 published its own expose of Rudin – the first publication to do so.
The magazine branded him ‘unhinged’ and ‘a monster’.
Rudin – whose films have earned 151 Oscar nominations and 23 wins, and whose stage shows have earned 17 individual Tony Awards – announced after the magazine’s story that he was ‘stepping back’ from his business.
He has produced films including Lady Bird, No Country for Old Men, School of Rock, The Truman Show and Social Network.
The New York Times did eventually publish its own expose of Rudin.
Yet the industry magazine on Wednesday asked why the newspaper had sat on the story for over a year, and lost its own scoop.
Caroline Rugo, who began working for Rudin as an executive coordinator for Rudin in the fall of 2018, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter.
She said she’d spoken to The New York Times the year before.
Josh Arnon, who worked for Rudin from October 2018 to August 2019, said he talked for hours with a New York Times correspondent for an exposé ‘that never came to pass.’
Arnon said: ‘I was not told at the time why it was killed.’
The New York Times have denied being influenced by advertising concerns in their decision not to run their own February 2020 expose of Rudin. He was eventually ‘outed’ in April 2021
Rudin is pictured with Jeff Bridges at the premiere of True Grit in New York in 2010
A New York Times spokesperson says the paper does not comment on unpublished stories.
The magazine said Rudin was a significant advertiser, with the total spend at around $3 million a year.
The Times spokesperson said: ‘The advertising department is entirely separate from the newsroom and has no control or influence over any news coverage.’
The Times spokesman told Fox News that any allegation that the paper spiked its Rudin reporting is ‘patently false’ and that ‘no outlet has done more pioneering work on the subject.’
Jordan Cohen, the executive director of communications for the Times, pointed to the newspaper’s reports on Harvey Weinstein, whose company Miramax was a big advertiser.
‘We also published this investigation when China threatened to retaliate by blocking access to our journalism,’ he said. ‘We’ve been blocked in China since 2012,’ he said of its website not being able to be accessed in the country.
Rudin is seen with Chris Rock on the set of Finally Famous in May 2014
Among the allegations in the Hollywood Reporter story was a pattern of Rudin throwing objects at his staffers – including a glass bowl and a baked potato.
The 62-year-old had a habit of kicking people out of moving cars, The Hollywood Reporter said.
Two employees reportedly had to go to the hospital as a result of his outbursts.
Rudin allegedly slammed an Apple computer monitor on one staffer’s hand, which cut them due to the broken glass from the shattered screen.
Another staffer had to go to the hospital due to workplace stress issues.
Others described Rudin screaming at them from such a close distance that his spit landed on their faces.
‘When you feel his spit on your face as he’s screaming at you, saying, ‘You’re worth nothing,’ it obviously makes an impact, and we’re young,’ one of his former assistants said.
‘Over his long career, there are hundreds and hundreds of people who have suffered. And some have given up their dreams because he made them feel and believe that they can’t do whatever it is they’re trying to do.’
Rudin’s behavior appears to have been an open secret in the entertainment industry, and reports of abusive and violent behavior have appeared for years, though Rudin’s position in the industry was undiminished until the latest exposé was published.
Rudin is among the most decorated in the industry and is among the few to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards – otherwise known as EGOT status.
Rudin is accused of being verbally and physically abusive to staff. He’s known for throwing things and sent two staffers to the hospital, one for stress and one whom he dropped a computer monitor on their hand
Rudin announced on April 17 that he was stepping back from ‘active participation’ on all his Broadway productions in response to the story.
The detail-free language in the apology left many theater insiders wondering what that would look like in practice, and if Rudin would still stand to benefit financially from the productions.
Later in April, Rudin announced that he was also stepping back also from his film and television productions.
‘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.