Actor Karen Olivo, who is currently Tony-nominated for playing Satine in ‘Moulin Rouge!’, said she will not be returning to the production when it resumes.
Olivo said she will not return in the wake of allegations made against producer Scott Rudin and the need for more members of the industry to speak out against injustice. ‘Moulin Rouge!’ producers confirmed Olivo’s departure Wednesday.
“Building a better industry is more important than putting money in my pockets,” Olivo said in an Instagram video Wednesday.
In the video, Olivo called out the lack of response from the industry in reaction to the recent Hollywood Reporter story, in which Rudin’s assistants came forward with allegations of workplace harassment and intimidation. A few individuals have commented on the article, and two Broadway unions issued a statement alluding to the allegations, but the theater community has not seen a large-scale response.
“What I’m seeing in this space right now with our industry is that everybody is scared and no one is really doing the stuff that needs to be done,” Olivo said. “People aren’t speaking out.”
“The silence about Scott Rudin? Unacceptable,” she said.
During the pandemic, Olivo has been outspoken on issues of inequity in the industry. In June 2020, Olivo and actor Eden Espinosa founded a new organization, Artists for Economic Transparency, vowing to “withhold their artistic services from ‘any theatre, company, or persons who would knowingly fund organizations that perpetuate inequality.'”
“I want a theater industry that matches my integrity,” Olivo said. “It’s not here, obviously. Let’s go make it.”
Olivo was an original cast member of “Moulin Rouge!”, which began performances on Broadway in June 2019 after a run in Boston. Rudin is not a producer on the show.
The producers of ‘Moulin Rouge!”, led by Carmen Pavlovic, issued a statement in support of Olivo’s activism and creation of the role of Satine.
“‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ is forever indebted to Karen Olivo’s artistry, passion, and craft in creating the role of Satine on stage. We applaud and support Karen’s advocacy work to create a safe, diverse, and equitable theater industry for all. Karen has been an indelible influence on our show from its beginning, and words cannot properly express our gratitude. We wish Karen great success, and above all, love,” the statement reads.
Olivo is currently nominated for a Tony Award in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. The winners of the 2019-2020 Tony Awards have not yet been announced, as the Tony Awards ceremony has not yet been held.