Joel Coen and Frances McDormand say anyone who says they witnessed Scott Rudin bullying ‘is not being honest’

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Joel Coen and Frances McDormand attend a photocall during the 10th Rome Film Fest on October 16, 2015 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
  • Joel Coen and Frances McDormand denied witnessing disgraced producer Scott Rudin bullying staffers.
  • A THR report cited claims from an ex-Rudin assistant who said the pair saw him abuse a staffer.
  • “From my point of view, whoever is saying we did see it is not being honest,” Coen said.
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Joel Coen and Frances McDormand have denied reports that they witnessed any bullying behavior by the disgraced film producer Scott Rudin ahead of the world premiere of their new film, “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”

Coen and McDormand – who are also married – spoke about Rudin during an expansive interview with Deadline about their Macbeth adaptation, which Rudin had been set to produce before he stepped away from the industry following an explosive and detailed investigation by The Hollywood Reporter that detailed extensive allegations against him that included verbal and physical abuse of staffers.

“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,” Coen told Deadline.

Coen continued to tell the publication that while he heard stories about Rudin, he had also heard many similar stories about other people in the industry but he denied ever witnessing Rudin being abusive to staffers.

“I never ever saw anything like that from Scott. I don’t condone it, of course, but I never saw it,” he said. “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.”

THR’s initial report into Rudin included a statement from one of Rudin’s former assistants Eric Emauni who told the outlet that Coen and McDormand had witnessed an example of the producer’s alleged abuse. Emauni said the pair had been at Rudin’s office for a meeting and during the visit, Rudin “laid into [a female] assistant while they were there.”

“They sat there, [then] they continued their meeting. Right after that, she quit,” Emauni said.

Ethan coen scott rudin joel coen 2008 oscars
Ethan Coen (L), Scott Rudin, and Joel Coen (R) at the Oscars in 2008. Steve Granitz/WireImage

During the interview with Deadline, McDormand further denied ever witnessing Rudin abuse staffers and defended her and Coen’s reputation in the industry.

“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 behavior to his employees,” McDormand said.

“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.”

The allegations against Rudin – who produced some of the most successful Hollywood films of the last decade including “The Social Network,” “Uncut Gems,” and “Ladybird,” as well as Broadway hits like “The Book of Mormon” – included claims that he smashed a computer monitor on an employee’s hand and fostered a work environment that was so toxic that people slept in the office and experienced hair loss and ulcers.

Rudin said he was “profoundly sorry for the pain” his behavior has caused in the statement he gave to Variety to announce he was to “step back” from his work on films, streaming projects, and Broadway productions.

“I take this step with a commitment to grow and change,” he said.