Karen Olivo, who originated the role of Satine in the musical adaptation of Moulin Rouge!, will not return to the Broadway production once performances resume. Her announcement, made via an Instagram video, arrives a week after a The Hollywood Reporter story detailed allegations of abuse and intimidation by Broadway producer Scott Rudin (Rudin is not attached to the musical).
“I could easily go back to a show and make a lot of money,” the Tony Award winner (currently Tony-nominated for their work as Satine) said in the post, going on to say and repeat: “Building a better industry is more important than putting money in my pockets.”
Unlike statements made earlier this week by Actors’ Equity and other performer unions, Olivo addresses the recent report and alleged perpetrator by name. “The silence about Scott Rudin—unacceptable,” she says. “That’s the easy one, y’all. That should be a no brainer.”
"I don't need to be on a stage," she added. "I need to be out here...I value humanity more; I want a theatre industry that matches my integrity."
Olivo's announcement marks a concrete decision and actionable step following a pledge they made last year in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. "In an effort to uplift my Black and POC community, [I] vow to withhold my artistic force and services from any theatre, company, or persons who would knowingly fund organizations that would perpetuate inequality," she said in the June 2020 video. "We work too hard to fund hate. If you want my services, show me the receipts."
Subsequently, Olivo, along with fellow Broadway performer Eden Espinosa, co-created AFECT (Artists for Economy Transparency), with the mission of shining a spotlight on inequity present in the American theatre and advocating for a "more accountable and accessible industry."
UPDATE, 6:30 PM ET: In a statement, the producers of Moulin Rouge!—which include the Australia-based Global Creatures as well as Jujamcyn Theatres, which owns and operates the musical's Broadway home, the Al Hirschfeld—said the production is "forever indebted to Karen Olivo’s artistry, passion, and craft in creating the role of Satine on stage." They continued: "We applaud and support Karen’s advocacy work to create a safe, diverse, and equitable theatre 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."