Broadway deal on Rudin shows will limit nondisclosure agreements

The performers and managers will be released from nondisclosure agreements they signed to work on four Broadway shows tied to producer Scott Rudin as part of a settlement between the Broadway League and the Actors’ Equity Association.

The union said the two parties had agreed that in the future, producers would no longer require actors or managers to sign such agreements unless they were approved by the union, which could sign in limited circumstances to protect things like intellectual property or financial information. The League declined to comment.

The settlement stems from a labor dispute that began last year, when Rudin, long one of Broadway’s most powerful producers, was accused of having behaved tyrannically to a variety of people who worked with him, prompting an Equity manager to alert the union to nondisclosure agreements required by some Rudin shows.

Last spring, the union asked Rudin to release employees from nondisclosure agreementsand in January, the union filed a pair of unfair labor practice complaints with the National Labor Relations Board regarding “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “West Side Story,” both of which were produced by Rudin at the time. .

The union argued that the non-disclosure agreements unlawfully restricted workers’ rights. His complaints were first filed against Rudin and his general manager; in recognition that Rudin is not currently actively producing on Broadway or in Hollywood, and that he resigned last year as a member of the Broadway League, the complaints have been expanded to include the Broadway League, which is a professional association representing producers.

The union said it has since learned that nondisclosure agreements were used by four recent Broadway productions, including not only ‘Mockingbird’ and ‘West Side Story’, but also ‘The Iceman Cometh’, of which Rudin was lead producer. , and “The Lehman Trilogy”, of which Rudin was one of the main producers.

The union withdrew the complaints from the National Labor Relations Board earlier this month, after reaching a settlement agreement with the League. Under the settlement agreement, the League, with Rudin’s consent, agreed to release from confidentiality, non-disclosure, and non-disparagement agreements any actor or manager who signed such an agreement with the four productions. recent. (The agreement does not affect workers in Rudin’s office, many of whom were required to sign detailed nondisclosure agreements as part of their employment contracts.)

The settlement comes at a time when non-disclosure agreements in many workplaces are coming under increasing scrutiny.

“Exploitation feeds on isolation,” said Andrea Hoeschen, the union’s general counsel. “There is no more powerful tool for an abuser or stalker, in any context, than silence.”

It is unknown how often non-disclosure agreements are used on Broadway.

“We intend to make our members widely aware of this settlement, and if they are asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement, we will repel those who violate our members’ rights,” Hoeschen said.

Lance B. Holton