Stars Who Treat Crew Members Like Trash

"Be careful how you treat people on the way up as you'll only meet them on the way down." It's a cliche, for sure, but one that several highly strung movers and shakers in the crazy world of Tinseltown still don't appear to have learned.

Indeed, Hollywood's A-listers can often be forgiven for throwing shade at, ranting against and, in some cases, even getting physical with those colleagues who have a similar level of fame, money, and success. It all adds to the drama, of course, and in a bid to get more bums in seats or eyes on the TV screen, there are times when such behavior appears to have been part of the publicity campaign.

However, marketing execs are less likely to be keen on highlighting those moments when a hot-headed star acts like a complete and utter jerk to those behind the scenes who can only dream of multi-million dollar paychecks and the red carpet life. Here's a look at 14 famous faces who treated crew members like something they throw in the trash can of their luxury trailers.

Tom Cruise got sweary over coronavirus measures

Behind that toothy grin, Tom Cruise has an intensity matched by few of his peers. Who can forget his cringe-worthy sofa-jumping antics on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" or his passionate behavior in those Scientology recruitment ads? And in 2020, the crew on "Mission: Impossible 7" was treated to the sight of the A-lister self-destructing in five seconds.

To be fair, Cruise had a point in what he was saying. The star had become increasingly annoyed and agitated at those behind the scenes who were failing to stick to social distancing rules in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. But his valid message got lost in a foul-mouthed rant, which gave his "Magnolia" character Frank 'TJ' Mackey a run for his money. And to make matters worse, his outburst at Hertfordshire's Warner Bros. Studios was captured on tape.

In an audio recording that managed to find its way to The Sun, Cruise can be heard giving the crew their own mission — with no choice but to accept it. He yelled, in part, "We are the gold standard. They're back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us, because they believe in us and what we're doing. I'm on the phone with every f**king studio at night, insurance companies, producers and they're looking at us and using us to make their movies. We are creating thousands of jobs, you motherf**kers. I don't ever want to see it again. Ever!"

Christian Bale berated a photography director for walking in his line of vision

The mother of all on-set meltdowns occurred when a director of photography had the sheer audacity to briefly step in front of Christian Bale's line of vision during the filming of "Terminator: Salvation." Some critics would argue the Welshman's subsequent rant was more entertaining than anything in the 2009 Arnold Schwarzenegger-free sequel. But the man on the receiving end, Shane Hurlbut, was unlikely to have seen things that way.

As the millions who've listened to the recording obtained by TMZ already know, Bale insisted that Hurlbut should immediately leave the set before unleashing a volley of foul-mouthed abuse. "Am I gonna walk around and rip your f**king lights down in the middle of the scene?" he yelled. "Then why the f**k are you walking right through? Ah da da da da, like this in the background. What the f**k is it with you? What don't you f**king understand?"

Bale, who was also famously involved in a fracas with his very own mother and sister, later apologized for his outburst, claiming that, contrary to opinion, he doesn't see himself as superior to anyone else. He told Los Angeles radio station KROQ, "Nothing could be farther from the truth. I am a lucky man, I never forget that and that is why I put so much into what I do, and why I care so much about it and why sometimes that enthusiasm just goes awry."

Ruby Rose got dictatorial on Batwoman

You know that something must have gone down when the lead of a money-spinning DC Comics superhero series made her exit after just a single season. Exactly what happened, though, remains disputed. Ruby Rose, the brief titular star of The CW's "Batwoman," claimed that a toxic work environment left her with no option but to walk away. However, according to various co-stars and crew members, she was the one responsible for all the toxicity.

Alexander J. Baxter, a production assistant on the show, was one such dissenter, telling CBR that Rose's allegations were off the mark. "The production company was professional, dialed in and in every way fantastic," he countered, before also praising the dedicated and hard-working crew. Baxter was less complimentary, though, about the leading lady. "Then came Ruby Rose ... She stormed off set, she yelled at people, and whenever she interacted with any of us production assistants, we were disregarded as the trash we picked up. She was a dictator to work for, and having been nothing but a production assistant eager to get into the industry, she made me consider quitting." 

Baxter concluded by describing the inaugural "Batwoman" season as the Australian's "reign of cruelty." And he wasn't the only name to speak up against Rose, either. Her co-star, Camrus Johnson, aka Luke Fox, tweeted, "It is VERY hard to be fired when you're the lead. Imagine what you have to do for that to happen."

Johnny Depp attempted to punch a location manager

In the same year that he was accused of domestic abuse in The Sun, Johnny Depp was also said to have acted violently toward a location manager on the set of the crime drama "City of Lies." The one-time heartthrob's highly public fall from grace continued in 2018, when allegations emerged that he'd tried to punch the unnamed crew member before offering him $100,000 to retaliate.

An anonymous insider told Page Six that the trouble began when Depp took over directorial duties from Brad Furman for one particular scene, which then significantly overran. After being told he needed to wrap things up, the Hollywood star — who was reportedly inebriated at the time — responded by squaring up to the location manager and shouting, "Who are you? You have no right."

After the victim of his ire replied that he was simply doing his job, Depp apparently tried to punch him in the chest before others pulled him away. Furman later insisted the incident had been blown all out of proportion. But considering that Depp was also then at the center of lawsuits involving his ex-security guards and one-time management team, the rumors didn't exactly seem beyond the realm of possibility.

Michael Polish was sued for assaulting an art director

"Bring on the Dancing Horses" was the title of the project that saw filmmaker Michael Polish get in a spot of bother in 2021. A conversation about shooting dogs sparked all the drama, reported Variety, who wrote that the one-time Mr. Kate Bosworth was discussing how to deal with bite-happy canines with art director Jack Renner, when the latter questioned his claims about "always packing heat."

Polish didn't take kindly to having his gun-toting questioned and allegedly reacted by throwing Renner to the ground and yelling at him to get off the set in strictly non-PG terms. Despite being warned not to get anyone else involved by a production supervisor, Renner later called an ambulance to seek treatment for a back injury and gave a statement to police about the incident.

That same person then apparently gave Renner's wife, who was working as a COVID supervisor on the same film, both barrels for snitching, allegedly telling her of her husband, "You deserved it. It doesn't matter if [you] did nothing wrong. You are wrong." Polish himself later issued a denial of Renner's version of events, with a rep stating that it was in fact, the victim who'd been the offender, that he'd been intoxicated throughout the shoot, and that he was trying to "take advantage of those who welcomed him with open arms."

UPDATE: According to Variety, the lawsuit has since been dismissed and representatives for Michael Polish and Jack Renner issued the following statement: "As often happens in life, misunderstandings can result in situations escalating where cooler heads should have prevailed. And that is exactly what happened when an after-hours disagreement between us spiraled into a lawsuit. That lawsuit has now been dismissed, and we have agreed to make peace with one another. We regret that we were not able to resolve things sooner and wish each other the best in our future pursuits."

Ellen DeGeneres doesn't allow staff to look her in the eye

Rumors had emerged for years that Ellen DeGeneres wasn't the type of kindly fairy godmother she portrayed herself to be on her eponymous talk show when the cameras stopped rolling. But it wasn't until 2020 that the comedian was forced to respond to such allegations publicly.

DeGeneres issued a full apology after BuzzFeed published two damaging reports about the toxic atmosphere behind the scenes of her daytime hit. Although the host wasn't involved directly in these particular accusations of racism, fear, and intimidation, she was still accused of being complicit for allowing such a culture to develop at her workplace.

But she was named explicitly in a Twitter thread full of horror stories — many of which were told by her former employees — that went viral earlier that year. The multiple Emmy winner apparently doesn't allow staff members to look her in the eye, often takes credit for others' work, and apparently refuses to even "interact with disabled people." The thread, dubbed "Ellen DeGeneres is Mean," racked up dozens of different tales from those who had experienced the other side of Mrs. Nice Guy.

David O. Russell kicked an extra

The ridiculously temperamental David O. Russell has become just as renowned for his outbursts at various Hollywood stars as his award-winning films. There's the famous video clip in which he berated and threw things at Lily Tomlin on "I Heart Huckabees." He regularly made Amy Adams cry with his demands during the filming of "American Hustle." And George Clooney claims that he was even head-butted by the director while shooting "Three Kings."

But Russell is an equal opportunity bully, it seems. The hothead has also been accused of treating a whole host of behind-the-scenes staff like something he's treaded his shoes in. While recalling his own experiences on the aforementioned Gulf War drama, Clooney also told Playboy [via Bustle] at the turn of the century that the filmmaker pushed an extra, reduced a script supervisor to tears, and left a camera-car driver red-faced.

The former "ER" star said, "David began yelling and screaming at him and embarrassing him in front of everybody. I told him, 'You can yell and scream and even fire him, but what you can't do is humiliate him in front of people. Not on my set, if I have any say about it.'"

Julia Roberts was nicknamed Tinkerhell on the set of Hook

Perhaps we can cut Julia Roberts some slack for apparently acting so monstrously on the set of "Hook." After all, she went straight into the shoot of Steven Spielberg's "Peter Pan" adaptation immediately after breaking up with Kiefer Sutherland just two days before they were due to tie the knot — the would-be groom's infidelity with an exotic dancer rumored to be the cause.

Still, those working on the 1991 kids adventure weren't in such a forgiving mood at the time. Indeed, the crew nicknamed Roberts "Tinkerhell" — the actor was playing fairy Tinkerbell — due to her bad behavior during the shoot. Even the usually diplomatic Spielberg appeared to acknowledge there was some bad blood on set, telling "60 Minutes," "It was an unfortunate time for us to work together" before refusing to answer the question of whether he'd ever work with her again.

Roberts herself claimed she wasn't aware of her unfortunate nickname during the shoot, but believed it was entirely unjustified, telling Entertainment Weekly, "I'm a normal person. I mean, if I sit in my trailer for six hours doing nothing, I'm going to say: 'What the f**k is going on?'"

Mike Myers treated Conan staffers like lackeys

It's always disappointing when a star who's brought so much joy to our screens — see everything from "Saturday Night Live" and its spin-off "Wayne's World" to "Shrek" and "Austin Powers" — turns out to be a bit of a jerk in real life. But yes, Mike Myers has been outed as a colleague from hell by multiple sources over the years.

In an interview with The AV Club, his "The Cat in the Hat" co-star Amy Hill described her time working with the Canadian on the 2003 Dr. Seuss adaptation as a "horrible nightmarish experience." The director of the 1993 dark comedy "So I Married an Axe Murderer," Thomas Schlamme, has also spoken of Myers' "difficult personality" to the Los Angeles Times. And according to Page Six, staffers at "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" will certainly be able to vouch for the latter.

During a 2008 appearance on the NBC talk show to publicize box office flop "The Love Guru," Myers made multiple specific requests (Twizzlers, Silk non-dairy creamer, raspberry seltzer) and apparently threw a fit when the latter item wasn't his brand of choice.

Lea Michele believed she knew better than the Glee crew

After years of rumors, a whole host of "Glee" actors, including Samantha Ware, Amber Riley, and Heather Morris, confirmed in 2020 that the character of self-obsessed mean girl Rachel Berry wasn't too much of a stretch for the actor who inhabited her. In fact, Lea Michele was allegedly even more monstrous off set than the New Directions' diva.

The star was effectively canceled by her former colleagues amid numerous accusations of racist microaggressions, workplace bullying, and just general all-round terrible behavior. And Michele didn't just target those she shared the screen with, either.

Several other cast and crew members came forward during the pile-on, with one background actor claiming that the singer would regularly tell those behind the scenes how to perform their duties and that she once held up a shoot for more than an hour after throwing a tantrum. Michele later issued an apology on Instagram for her previous conduct but seemed more concerned with using the opportunity as a teachable moment than offering genuine remorse, adding, "We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect my own shortcomings."

Val Kilmer burned a camera operator with a cigarette

Val Kilmer's erratic behavior on the remake of "The Island of Dr. Moreau" has become the stuff of legend. It even inspired a behind-the-scenes documentary that was ultimately far more watchable than the notorious 1996 flop itself.

After arriving for the hugely problematic shoot two days late, the actor proceeded to make life hell for both the director he eventually helped to oust, Richard Stanley, and his replacement, John Frankenheimer. (The latter later remarked to Entertainment Weekly, "I don't like his work ethic, and I don't want to be associated with him ever again"). Kilmer repeatedly recited lines attributed to other characters, refused to join in with rehearsals and constantly feuded with equally troublesome co-star Marlon Brando. And there was the time he left one particular crew member with a painful memento of the experience — a cigarette burn mark.

There's still a debate about whether the incident in question was an accident or not. Tim Zinnemann, the film's executive producer, told Entertainment Weekly, "Val was sort of teasing him with the end of his cigarette and burned this guy's sideburn. The guy was upset, naturally." However, another witness argued, "He burned that cameraman right on his face, and no, he wasn't fooling around. It was intentional."

Nia Long was unprofessional toward the Empire crew

Nia Long's behavior toward the crew of hit musical drama "Empire" was apparently so ill-mannered that they lodged an official complaint against her. The actor, who played Giuliana 'Giusi' Green, was said to have been particularly unprofessional when dealing with the hair and makeup team, with an insider telling TMZ, "She was extremely disrespectful ... at times deciding she didn't like her look at the last minute and then chewing them out."

According to reports, Long was repeatedly called out for her attitude to those behind the scenes by co-star Taraji P. Henson, sparking a feud that became so intense, producers started thinking about shooting their joint scenes separately. The trouble-making actor allegedly had problems showing up to the set on time and threatened to file a lawsuit after the assistant director failed to give her the send-off she felt she contractually deserved.

Unsurprisingly, Long denied all knowledge of such conduct, and the complaint lodged against her, with a rep issuing a statement that claimed, "Nia has always, and continues to be, a consummate professional on set."

Vin Diesel rubbed the Fast and Furious crew the wrong way

Vin Diesel is always talking about how the increasingly outlandish "Fast and Furious" franchise is steeped in the concept of family. But his equally big-necked co-star Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson brought such claims into question in 2016 with a since-deleted Instagram post about his cast members which read, "Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don't. The ones that don't are too chicken s**t to do anything about it anyway."

The former WWE star later admitted that he shouldn't have gone public with his true thoughts, which were expressed in the wake of rumors that he and Diesel had to be separated during press commitments for "The Fate of the Furious." However, Johnson also told Vanity Fair that he still stands by those thoughts and that he received a lot of support for speaking out, however cryptically, about his long-running castmate.

The actor said, "It caused a firestorm, yet interestingly enough ... [it was] as if every single crew member found their way to me and either quietly thanked me or sent me a note." It's not clear what Diesel has done to make those behind the scenes firmly Team Johnson. But with the pair seemingly unable to patch up their differences, expect plenty more tidbits about his on-set behavior to emerge in the future.

Thomas Gibson was a Jekyll and Hyde on Criminal Minds

Thomas Gibson appears to have been something of a Jekyll and Hyde character during his turbulent stint on the "Criminal Minds" franchise. After the actor, who played Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner, finally received his marching orders in 2016, several unnamed staffers told Variety that they'd always viewed him as an amiable family man. But another remarked to the same publication, "It's like a dark cloud has been lifted off that show. You never knew which Thomas Gibson was going to show up."

Assistant director Ian Woolf and writer/producer Virgil Williams were just two behind-the-scenes names who found themselves on the receiving end of Gibson's darker side. In 2010, the former was shoved by the star following a dispute over safety concerns. And then six years later, the latter was reportedly kicked by Gibson while filming an episode where the hot-headed star also took the director's chair.

It was the latter incident that led to his firing — he'd also been given a warning after being charged with a DUI. Crew members, who no doubt believed he should have been gone long before then, were also said to be peeved at Gibson's demands: he insisted the filming schedule should revolve around his traveling from the show's Los Angeles studios to his San Antonio home.