Celebs Who Tried To Sabotage Other Stars' Careers

Sabotage is the blackest of black arts — and many entertainers are highly virtuosic at the craft. Beyond intelligence, foresight, and imagination, an effective sabotage campaign requires the patience of saints and the timing of a metronome. In a space as ferociously competitive as show business, plenty of performers are willing to go full-fledged All About Eve at the barest provocation. Just ask Riverdale's Madelaine Petsch, who told Huffington Post in 2017 that "you can meet people [in Hollywood] who can bring you down. The sabotage is real. Every actress wants this life, so it is a little cutthroat."

These scurrilous, strategic sneaks know a carefully-worded piece of gossip can upend somebody's career. And watch closely: Just like a master manipulator leaves you feeling like you just got away with something, skilled saboteurs make their catlike maneuverings look like pure happenstance. It always pays to think twice — and then think again.

From majorly Machiavellian machinations (ousting stars from the franchises they helped create) to significantly lesser infractions (deleting your competitor's Instas), here's an illustrious lineup of unfortunate stars who saw their careers hijacked, undermined, derailed, and in some cases, destroyed. 

Remember: It's a jungle out there, and some savages want to snip your swinging vine at the roots.

​Terrence Howard has a major Robert Downey Jr. problem

Terrence Howard credits Iron Man with unceremoniously killing his career. Fans no doubt wondered why Don Cheadle was portraying Colonel James Rhodes by the time Iron Man 2 hit theaters, and during a 2013 appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, the Hustle & Flow star was all-too happy to explain why he hadn't continued playing the role he originated.

Howard claimed he was ousted from subsequent installments of the franchise due to shady business on the part of the film's star. "It turns out that the person that I helped become Iron Man, when it was time to...  re-up for the second one, took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out," he said. Howard claimed he'd inked a three-picture deal before the film went into production. "It was going to be a certain amount for the first one, a certain amount for the second one, a certain amount for the third." After the film proved a massive hit, producers allegedly changed their tune. "They came [up] to me with the second [film] and said, 'Look, we will pay you one-eighth of what we contractually had for you, because we think the second one will be successful with or without you.'"

Howard allegedly tried to call this "friend" that he "helped get the first job" and that friend "didn't call me back for three months." As the studio audience booed, Howard sarcastically crowed, "Oh, I love him. God's gonna bless him."

Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas are a lethal combination

Could a Mel Gibson/Joe Eszterhas collaboration ever have gone well? In 2012, the Basic Instinct screenwriter accused Gibson of deliberately sabotaging the film they'd been developing, which was set to star the hotheaded Aussie as Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee. After Warner Bros. passed on Eszterhas' script, saying it lacked "a sense of triumph," the scribe claimed Gibson derailed the project... because he's allegedly anti-Semitic. "I've come to the conclusion that the reason you won't make The Maccabees is the ugliest possible one," he wrote in a letter to the Passion of the Christ director. "You hate Jews."

The brouhaha escalated fast. Gibson replied with a statement of his own, which read in part, "A man of principle... would have withdrawn from the project regardless of the money if you truly believed me to be the person you describe in your letter. I guess you only had a problem with me after Warner Brothers rejected your script." Since Gibson essentially called him a liar, Eszterhas decided to share a recording with TheWrap, which captured a raving Gibson that sounds like a yeti being harpooned.

Gibson shrugged off the rant on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, admitting he has "a little bit of a temper... Has it really come to the place where you can't blow off steam in your own home, even if you're justified?"

Total war between Amanda Cerny and Lele Pons

OMG, this is so not cute. Internet "influencers" Lele Pons and Amanda Cerny were the bestest of BFFs back in 2016 — until Cerny allegedly caught her pal deleting all her popular Instagram posts in an attempt to sabotage her career. "Lele Pons was supposed to be my best friend," Cerny lamented in a post written for The Dirty. Meanwhile, Seventeen called the micro-scandal "shocking" and New York found it "deeply concerning." 

"I began to notice my photos being deleted, my videos being deleted and my account being put on private so no one could follow me," Cerny continued. Then, she allegedly saw Pons messing with her phone at a party. A confrontation was inevitable. "I asked her face-to-face and she looked like she was lying and I demanded the truth from her. She admitted to it all ... She is still trying to ruin me LOL for no reason," she wrote.

Pons did everything in her power to repair the friendship once her cruel intentions came to light. Well, she texted an apology: "AMANDA! I'm so sorry about that I feel horrible! So f****d up from me and I act so immature and impulsively. It's so wrong what I did and I don't know what to do so you forgive me."

Fat. Chance. In 2017, Cerny full-on dissed her former pals' hair extensions in a tweet after Pons was accused of lying about donating her hair to charity. That's the last we've heard from the ex-duo... for now.

​Jax Taylor was "legitimately scared" by Stassi Schroeder

"She's broken some cell phones. She smashed my face with a tennis racket. She keyed my car." That's Vanderpump Rules' Jax Taylor, recounting some of Stassi Schroeder's greatest hits during the course of their queasily dysfunctional relationship. Her crowning achievement? Speaking to The Daily Dish in 2017, Taylor revealed Schroeder once reportedly sabotaged one of his modeling gigs (via Jezebel). "I remember I booked this cool modeling job," he alleges. "It was like for Carnival cruises where I had to be the dad."

Not on Schroeder's watch. Once she learned another woman was part of the picture, Taylor claims she jealously took matters into her own tremulous hands, saying, "She called up the client the night before or got on the email and said, 'He's not doing this job, it's with a girl.'"

According to Taylor, it was "a significant amount of money." He had absolutely no idea Schroeder had effectively meddled with his career until waking the next morning and scanning emails — the gig had been unceremoniously canceled. "They're like, 'Yeah we found somebody else.' The client's like, I don't need this drama. I don't need your girlfriend emailing me.' I'm like, are you f***ing kidding me?"

In Schroeder's defense, those Carnival commercials are pretty racy.

Andrew Lloyd Webber allegedly had it in for Denise Van Outen

Doesn't Andrew Lloyd Webber have anything better to do than sabotage Denise Van Outen's career? Not according to Van Outen. In 2012, the former Chicago star told the Evening Standard she was certain the legendary composer was "involved" in the decision to yank her out of judging duties during the 2010 singing competition Over the Rainbow — on the grounds that she was pregnant. Van Outen told the paper: "I was upset because at that time Dannii Minogue, who was a judge on The X Factor, was pregnant as well, and they just got stand-in judges." A spokesperson for the composer denied any wrongdoing: "The BBC had complete and strict editorial control of Over The Rainbow. The decision to replace Denise Van Outen was theirs because they wanted to refresh the judging panel."

And that's not the only time Denise Van Outen felt sabotaged and slighted by one of her peers. To her mind, her former Big Breakfast co-host Johnny Vaughan's actions were most dreadfully unfair after they reunited for his Capital FM radio show. "Johnny didn't really welcome me with open arms, in fact he made me feel very uncomfortable," she told the Daily Mail in 2012. "When I would go to speak he would fade my microphone down."

Vaughn downplayed the accusation, telling Digital Spy. "It must be humor. ... Anyone who has ever known me in radio knows that I can't operate any of the machines." 

Spoken like a master saboteur.  

Did savvy TV execs sabotage Mariah Carey's NYE performance?

It was the New Years Eve performance that will forever live in infamy. When Mariah Carey took the stage for New Year's Rockin' Eve in Times Square during the last few minutes of 2016, she must've felt confident she could bring the thrills and the trills. But as she floundered through renditions of "We Belong Together" and "Emotion," a crowd that had congregated to watch the ball drop instead witnessed Carey's reputation take a nosedive. Her mouthy manager Stella Bulochnikov blamed it on ABC television execs.   

"They acknowledged that they knew her inner ears were not working," she told US Weekly. "They did not cut to a commercial. They did not cut to the West Coast feed; they left her out there to get ratings." She added she was "furious" with television executive Michael Schimmel and Dick Clark Productions for the ensuing fracas. "I will never know the truth, but I do know that we told them three times that her mic pack was not working and it was a disastrous production.... Mariah did them a favor. She was the biggest star there and they did not have their s**t together."

A statement from Dick Clark Productions denied there's any truth to that, and says the notion that they'd "ever intentionally compromise the success of any artist is defamatory, outrageous, and frankly absurd."

Carey seemed to shrug off all these accusations of subterfuge with a single tweet: "S**t happens."

Did Harvey Weinstein make Mira Sorvino pay for rejecting him?

If an actress ever dared to spur his sexual advances, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein would allegedly do everything in his power to derail her career. In a 2017 Hollywood Reporter column, actress Mira Sorvino alleged Weinstein would blacklist any woman in the industry he felt had slighted him, habitually claiming they were drug addicts, and passing this false information on "to casting people and agencies." 

Sorvino recalled to The New Yorker several instances in which Weinstein was inappropriate, reportedly trying to massage her shoulders, "sort of chasing me around," and even popping up to her home unannounced, under the pretense of going over marketing strategies for a movie. She dodged him by saying a boyfriend was on his way over. After the last incident, she felt something had changed. "There may have been other factors," she told the publication, "but I definitely felt iced out [by Hollywood] and that my rejection of Harvey had something to do with it."

In fact, director Peter Jackson distinctly remembered staffers at Miramax telling him to avoid Mira Sorvino (and Ashley Judd), revealing to Stuff in 2017, "I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women, and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list." 

Unfortunately, Sorvino's story is just one of many. Over 50 actresses have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment so far, and that's probably not even half the story.

​Michael Bay allegedly outsourced a poison-pen letter about Megan Fox

One surefire way to sabotage someone's career: Brand them insufferable, unreliable, or otherwise undesirable. Reportedly, this was the preferred method for disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein when actresses refused his sexual advances, but other power players are accused of using the tactic, too. Megan Fox maintains Michael Bay had a vendetta against her after she called him out to Wonderland magazine while promoting 2009's Jennifer's Body: "He wants to be like Hitler on his sets," she said, "and he is.... He's a nightmare to work for.... He's so awkward, so hopelessly awkward."

Well, that was never going to go well. Bay reportedly retaliated by having Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen crew members besmirch Fox in an open letter that referred to her as "Ms. Sourpants," "a porn star," "dumb-as-a-rock," and "unfriendly b****h." Fox was summarily replaced in the Transformer films by model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Talking to the Los Angeles Times in 2011, Shia LaBeouf added insult to injury when weighing in on the cast change, saying "Mike films women in a way that appeals to a 16-year-old sexuality. It's summer. It's Michael's style. And I think [Fox] never got comfortable with it." Fox acknowledged her comment was unwise and says being fired by Bay led to the darkest phase of her life thus far: "I felt like Joan of Arc," she told Cosmopolitan UK in 2017. "It hurt me and a lot of other people. However, that darkness that descended caused enormous and brisk spiritual growth."

Clint Eastwood's alleged act of sabotage is truly nauseating

In the history of bitter divorces, this is truly one for the books. In 1996, actress Sondra Locke walked out of a courtroom with a handsome sum of money after settling a fraud suit against her ex-husband and former costar Clint Eastwood, who Locke had accused of deliberately sabotaging her career. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, Locke said the settlement sent a powerful message. "People cannot get away with whatever they want to, just because they're powerful." Locke's lawyer, Peggy Garrity, described the case as "about power and the arrogance of power" and Eastwood's actions as "the ultimate betrayal."

So how, exactly, did Eastwood try to maim his ex-wife's career? Locke alleges he'd convinced her to drop a palimony suit in 1989 in lieu of a lucrative three-year development deal at Warner Bros. But for some strange reason, despite the fact that she'd directed two acclaimed films, the studio reportedly kept rejecting every single one of her pitches — and she pitched more than 30. That's because the $1.5 million deal was allegedly bogus and Eastwood had financed the whole thing. 

At the time, a juror named Robert Campbell said Locke's "whole career was ruined and she needs to be compensated for that." As to how much she was ultimately compensated, Locke quipped, "I don't have to worry about working."

Lee Daniels sabotaged Mo'Nique — with help from friends

Following her Oscar-winning turn in 2009's "Precious," Mo'Nique seemed to disappear from the public eye altogether. Lee Daniels, the director of the film, said there's good reason for that. Speaking to Don Lemon on CNN Tonight in 2015, Daniels implied the actress had been blackballed by Hollywood due to all her diva drama. "During the [Oscar] campaign, she was making unreasonable demands," Daniels said, "and I remember thinking 'this is when reverse racism happens.'"

Monique denied ever being shunned by Hollywood. "It wasn't that I was blackballed like Mr. Daniels said," she told Don Lemon. "The phone was ringing and the scripts were coming but the offers that were associated with them made me say 'I can't accept that.'"

But by 2017, Mo'Nique changed her tune, now claiming Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, and Tyler Perry had banded together to sabotage her career. "I was not blackballed," she said during a "Pre-Mother's Day Comedy Special" at The Apollo Theater, according to Essence. "I was whiteballed by some black d***s who had no b***s. Thank you, Mr. Lee Daniels. Thank you, Mr. Tyler Perry. Thank you, Ms. Oprah Winfrey. No, baby, I wasn't blackballed. I was f*****d up by some n****rs who had no b****s... " And that's not all she had to say. "It would kill me not to say the real s***," she sniped. "You are not treating me fairly, so y'all can suck my d*** if I had one."

Man, there must've been a lot of laughs that night.