AceShowbiz - Rob Roth, the stage director of Broadway's "Beauty and the Beast", has stepped down from the Disney show's upcoming U.K. and Ireland tour after a text of an ill-advised email leaked on social media.
The correspondence intended for Scott Rudin, in which Roth poked fun at actress Karen Olivo for announcing plans to quit the "Moulin Rouge!" musical as a protest over the disgraced producer's misconduct and the way he treated assistants, was captured by a passenger on a flight and posted online.
In a statement Roth made to the theatre publication The Stage, he writes, "Upon consideration of recent events, it is clear that I am not in a position to lead this production at this time."
"I see now that the sentiments included in a private email that went public were thoughtless and insensitive, and I am profoundly sorry that my comments have caused unintended pain. I deeply regret making light of bullying, which I know to be a horrible experience. For the good of the show and this wonderful company of artists, I have made the difficult decision to step aside as director."
Roth will be replaced by director and choreographer Matt West.
In his email, Roth congratulated Rudin and suggested he should be awarded an honorary Tony Award for "somehow getting that horrible woman to quit acting..." He added, "God bless you Scott for your service to American theatre."
Rudin was exposed as a bully, who attacked assistants in fits of rage, in a recent The Hollywood Reporter article. Over the weekend, he announced he would be stepping back from all his production projects, adding, "Much has been written about my history of troubling interactions with colleagues, and I am profoundly sorry for the pain my behavior caused to individuals, directly and indirectly. I am now taking steps that I should have taken years ago to address this behavior."
Olivo, the star of "Moulin Rouge!", announced she would not be returning to the Broadway show when it re-opened after the COVID pandemic to protest what she called the industry's silence regarding Rudin, although the embattled producer is not involved with her production.
"I could easily go back to the show and make a lot of money, but I still wouldn't be able to control what I was putting out into the world," Olivo wrote on Instagram. "And what I'm seeing in this space right now, with our industry, is that everybody is scared, and nobody is really doing a lot of the stuff that needs to be done. People aren't speaking out."