Frances McDormand denies witnessing Scott Rudin ‘laying into’ female assistant

Frances McDormand denies witnessing Scott Rudin ‘laying into’ female assistant
‘Anyone that questions our reputation should speak to us about that,’ said McDormand

Frances McDormand and Joel Coen have denied witnessing any bullying behaviour by producer Scott Rudin, who has been accused of workplace misconduct by former employees.

The couple recently worked with Rudin on The Tragedy of Macbeth, and director Coen has previously collaborated with Rudin on films including No Country for Old Men, True Grit and Inside Llewyn Davis. Actor McDormand has also worked with the producer on Moonrise Kingdom, Isle of Dogs and Wonder Boys.

In April, The Hollywood Reporter detailed extensive allegations against Rudin that included verbal and physical abuse, such as Rudin smashing an Apple computer monitor on an employee’s hand. After the story broke, Rudin withdrew from several projects, including The Tragedy of Macbeth.

He said in a statement: “Much has been written about my history of troubling interactions with colleagues, and I am profoundly sorry for the pain my behaviour caused to individuals, directly and indirectly. I am now taking steps that I should have taken years ago to address this behaviour.”

In a follow-up report in June, former assistant Eric Emauni claimed Rudin reprimanded a female assistant in the presence of McDormand and Coen.

“He invited Frances McDormand and Joel Coen into the office for a meeting,” he said, adding that during the visit, Rudin left his office to the assistant bullpen just outside and “laid into an assistant while they were there. They sat there, [then] they continued their meeting. Right after that, she quit”.

Frances McDormand, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin

In a new interview with Deadline, Coen said: “I think there isn’t anyone who works in the business who hasn’t heard those stories over the last however many decades that Scott has been working… I heard the stories and to a certain extent, I didn’t doubt the stories… but I never, ever saw anything like that from Scott. I don’t condone it, of course, but I never saw it.”

He added: “So from my point of view, whoever is saying we did see it is not being honest. So, that makes me skeptical of anything else that particular person might be saying.”

McDormand said: “I think the most important thing that Joel has said is that we have worked with Scott for many years, we have not witnessed his disrespectful bully behaviour to his employees, and what Joel has just said, anyone that questions our reputation should speak to us about that.

“Because I think anybody in that industry would not question our reputation when it comes… we do not handle ourselves that way professionally or personally. So, I think that’s enough.”