New York's Worst Bosses: Scott Rudin

With your help, we've ID'd 14 of the potentially worst bosses in New York. We'll be parading them in front of you daily, and when we're done, we'll all decide together who's the worst. Feel free to shout out your suggestions if any of these tales joggles a traumatized (or happy) memory!

We admit it: we've been frying up some small fish lately, bad boss-wise. But today's boss is pretty much a 4,000 pound ahi tuna. Allegedly!

It's probably not news to anyone that movie producer Scott Rudin is rumored to be difficult to work for. When there's a subsection of someone's Wikipedia entry just entitled "Scott Rudin and his assistants," that's sort of a sign, no? Purportedly the model for the evil producer played by Kevin Spacey in Swimming With Sharks, Rudin is responsible for many a hit movie — The Queen, Venus, and Notes on A Scandal were this year's highest-profile successes. Rudin also has a taste for literary adaptations: he's acquired film rights to The Corrections, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and most recently Special Topics in Calamity Physics. On another high-profile adaptation, The Hours, he famously collaborated with goes-without-saying bad boss Hall of Famer Harvey Weinstein. This team effort went so well that Rudin famously sent Weinstein, a chain-smoker, a sweet thank you gift: a crate of cigarettes! But based on what we hear, working with Rudin is nothing compared to working for him.

As our tipsters have it, Rudin neatly nails every bad boss cliche, especially the one about throwing things. When he recently at long last got a Blackberry, it was viewed with mixed relief and terror by his five (yes) assistants because of the likelihood that it would soon become a projectile. Allegedly, it did. The assistants, one of whom is tasked solely with making theater reservations for Rudin, are frequently fired. Sometimes all are fired simultaneously, and when this happens they traditionally go across the street to a cafe where they await a call from the office manager to let them know they're rehired. Despite the admirably thorough division of labor, the assistants are, according to a tipster, still horribly overworked. They're also meant to be on call 24/7, and are banned from taking the subway because this renders them unreachable.

A 2005 Wall Street Journal article entitled Boss-Zilla (subscribers only) delved into Rudin's antics, but according to a tipster, barely scratched the surface, with good reason: while it was being researched, one of Rudin's employees was tasked with compiling a list of every single individual who had ever worked for him. This list was then called and told which stories they were permitted to share. Ostensibly they complied because of Rudin's industry clout, which makes sense to us: there is no telling what someone who will send a crate of cigarettes to Harvey Weinstein is capable of. Shiver.



Earlier:
Evil Bosses