Even though Edie was totally detestable on “Desperate Housewives,” something tells me that Nicollette Sheridan didn’t deserve the palm-to-the-face allegedly delivered by her boss, producer Marc Cherry. She’s currently suing the studio for damages and wrongful termination after Cherry killed off her character shortly after their kerfuffle. After Teri Hatcher also supposedly complained about Cherry’s abuse, he allegedly said, “I hope [she] gets hit by a car and dies.” Geez, he must be a great guy to work for.
Hollywood seems to be a breeding ground for tyranny and narcissism. Here are nine more of the scariest bosses in Tinsel Town.
- James Cameron has a reputation for being extremely evil to work for—Kate Winslet said she would never do another film with him, and on the set of “Avatar,” he reportedly used a nail gun to staple cell phones to the wall should they ring at an inconvenient moment. But his devoted employees are willing to put up with abuse for the end results. Cameron acknowledges that he expects long hours, hard work, and doles out harsh criticism, but he rarely fires anyone because “firing is too merciful.” Shiver. [Harvard Business Review]
- Actor and producer Ben Stiller seems like a nice guy, but as a boss he’s pretty intense. He has an assistant to carry his ice tea and hair care items at all times. “[In my training] they told me Ben loves a very specific type of Nestea iced tea,” said a former production assistant. “It had to be unsweetened, and I was to sweeten it with 1.5 packets of Splenda inside 16 ounces of unsweetened iced tea… When I brought it in a paper cup, he said: ‘Can I get a glass for that?’ Then he said: ‘Can you fill that glass with more ice please?’ and then: ‘Can you pour it for me?’ I also had to carry around a blow-dryer and hair product. He was constantly checking out his hair.” No wonder it looks so … good? [Minyan Ville]
- Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel, who was the inspiration for Ari Gold on “Entourage,” apparently isn’t so different from his character. When his company Endeavor was merging with William Morris Agency, he offered to take their head, Jim Wiatt, out to pasture and “put him down.” Wiatt’s response was, “That’s just Ari being a prick again.” Emanuel’s former employees also filed claims against the agent for racist and anti-gay remarks and for letting his friend operate a porn website out of their company offices. [Hollywood Roaster]
- I wouldn’t want to think of
Punky BrewsterSoleil Moon-Frye‘s husband, producer Jason Goldberg, as being anything other than awesome. But one of my best friends interviewed with the notoriously jerky boss and he asked her if she was gay or straight, grilled her on her relationship with her boyfriend, eventually announcing he was a loser, and told her that he made people cry regularly. One past employee has been encouraging others to boycott him for being such a rude boss. Hopefully he’s a little sunnier at home. [Reality TV Magazine]
- Walt Disney might have brought joy to millions, but he was also a paranoid control freak who underpaid his workers, made anti-Semitic remarks, and butted heads with labor union organizers. Oh, plus he turned in people he thought were communists while spying for J. Edgar Hoover and helping Senator McCarthy. He’s more of a rodent than Mickey and Minnie! [Business Week]
- Ray Stark, the head of Columbia Picture in the ’70s and ’80s, passed away a few years back, but was totally unapologetic about his methods. “The studio, the director, the actors, and the crew are all waiting to march over you,” he said. “You’ll live a lot longer as a son-of-a-b**ch dictator.” He turned Barbra Streisand into a star, but after her contract was fulfilled, she gifted him with an antique mirror on which “paid in full” was written in lipstick. [Guardian]
- Peter Guber was one of the heads at Columbia Pictures when Sony bought them in 1989. The deal eventually lost the Japanese company $4.2 billion, considered to be one of the biggest losses in industry history. Guber told another studio executive, “They haven’t bought me, they’re only renting me for five years.” As a boss, he liked to ditch out at moments of crisis and enjoyed a “sybaritic lifestyle,” while advancing his own movies. [Slate]
- Also part of the team at Columbia that made Sony regret their investment was notorious bad boss Jon Peters. Peters started as Barbra Streisand’s hair stylist but eventually helped her find her “sexual awakening.” He was considered to be a “hot-tempered bully,” once threatening to break a co-worker’s jaw. He was more recently sued for sexual harassment by two women as well as a man who said Peters fondled himself in front of him. [Boy Culture]
- Producer Scott Rudin has been described as “overweight, overbearing, with a black beard and a huge, booming laugh—the bully boy’s bully boy, both impossibly demanding, even cruel, to subordinates.” He once emailed an executive at Paramount Studios to say, “The only thing separating my hands from your neck is the fact that there are 3,000 miles between us.” Rudin has a reputation for going through assistants like they’re tissues and he’s got the flu. He makes unemployment look pretty idyllic, but he did produce “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood,” so we forgive him slightly. [Moe Jackson]