Michael Chabon Pens Apology for Past Dealings With Scott Rudin

It's a harrowing read

Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon attends the premiere of CBS All Access' "Star Trek: Picard" at ArcLight Cinerama Dome on January 13, 2020.
Rich Fury/Getty Images

In recent weeks, the ways in which producer Scott Rudin treated his employees — which included both verbal and physical abuse — has become the stuff of headlines and heated discussions. It’s also prompted some bigger names who have worked with Rudin to address the abuse — and others to remain quiet.

One industry figure who has addressed his past work with Scott Rudin is novelist and screenwriter Michael Chabon. In an essay posted on Medium, Chabon wrote about his professional contact with Rudin — which spanned decades — and offers regrets for not speaking out earlier. “Twenty years is a long time to collaborate with an abuser,” Chabon writes early in the piece — and he goes on to offer a dissection of that period, which Rudin’s toxic behavior eventually brought to an end.

“I heard stories of Scott’s tantrums and vindictiveness, but not of smashed hands and people pushed out of moving cars,” Chabon goes on to write. “But I knew enough.”

Chabon addresses his own regrets — for not having spoken up when he was aware that something was wrong, and for not doing more to address the culture that Rudin created around himself — as well as the larger problems within the film and television industry that allowed Rudin’s actions to go unchecked for so many years.

“To say ‘I took it for granted’ is letting myself off too easily, because what I did, to ease my own conscience, was buy into, and thus help to perpetuate, the myth that professional and artistic success, encoded as ‘survival,’ require submissiveness to abuse, encoded as ‘toughness,’” Chabon writes. The whole essay provides an inside look into how Rudin got away with abusing his employees for so long — and the system that made it easy to deny what was happening.

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