Moulin Rouge! actor Karen Olivo says she’s not returning to the Broadway production as a form of protest against Scott Rudin, the prolific theater and film producer who former employees accused of bullying in a recent Hollywood Reporter story.
Olivo, who played Satine in the Broadway production that began in 2019, announced her departure from the role in an Instagram video on Monday. “Social justice is more important than being a sparkling diamond. Building a better industry for my students is more important than me putting money in my pockets,” the Tony-winning performer (West Side Story, 2009) said in the video. “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?”
She then challenged the rest of the industry to speak up: “Are you going to protect your pocketbook? And let people go to the emergency room so you can do your next concert?” She added, “That’s it. I don’t need to be on a stage. I need to be out here… People are more important than your pocketbook.”
Olivo’s statements come one day after three performers’ unions — SAG-AFTRA, Actors Equity and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 — condemned workplace harassment in a statement prompted by THR‘s Rudin story. “Every worker deserves to do their job in an environment free of harassment of any kind, whether that harassment creates a toxic workplace or, certainly in the case of sexual harassment, when that behavior is also against the law,” the statement read.
Olivo added at the end of our statement, “I want a theater industry that matches my integrity. C’mon, y’all, why don’t we go make it? It’s not here, obviously.”
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.