A group of theater activists are planning a march Thursday to protest producer Scott Rudin’s membership in the Broadway League and to call for greater transparency from Actors’ Equity.
March organizers Nattalyee Randall and Courtney Daniels, both Equity members, have put forward a list six demands, which include the removal of Rudin from the League, as well as a full list of organizations that Equity is working with to ensure greater protection of members who are Black, Indigenous or people of color, and a report on how the union spent 2020 dues. If the removal of Rudin is not possible, organizers are calling for the producer to make a large donation to 20 BIPOC theaters.
These demands come, in part, in response to the Hollywood Reporter article detailing allegations of workplace harassment and intimidation at Rudin’s office. Rudin has since said he will “step back” from Broadway producing. The Broadway League declined to comment on the allegations or the call for Rudin’s removal from the League.
However, the calls for action also speak to a growing frustration among Equity members. After the union’s recent town hall meeting, held in response to a petition from union members calling for clarity on reopening protocols, members, including petition organizer Timothy Hughes, said they felt their reopening questions still had not been addressed.
Randall said she felt the town hall did not address her concerns about how the union will protect BIPOC members in the workplace — a worry that was exacerbated by the publication of Rudin’s alleged workplace harassment. The march organizers are also calling for greater protection and inclusion of Equity members with disabilities, as well as those who are trans, nonbinary or gender-nonconforming.
“We have been talking a lot about Broadway and how it needs to change, but a lot of times people are just talking behind their screens, and I’m not saying it’s not valid, because it is, but Courtney and I have very much been about taking it to the streets,” Randall said.
The march, which was rescheduled to Thursday afternoon from Wednesday due to inclement weather, will begin at Columbus Circle and feature guest speakers including Randall and Daniels, as well as actors Eden Espinosa — who has been leading a charge to withhold dues from Equity until it provides detailed accounting on its spending and policies — Ryan Vasquez and James Pierce III.
Actors’ Equity did not respond to a request for comment on the protest or the demands.
However, after days of frequent social media posts listing the demands of the march, as well as a letter writing campaign, Equity released a list of organizations it is partnering with to help create greater racial equity in the industry.
Randall said this, as well as Rudin’s step back from the industry, is a start, but not enough.
“We do feel that people are starting to listen, but are not all the way hearing us. We are pushing even harder now,” Randall said.