REAL-LIFE BIG FAT OBNOXIOUS BOSSES
November 7, 2004 -- Anyone queasy at the idea of returning to a hostile workplace tomorrow morning would be wise to cover their eyes during tonight's launch of "My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss."
Fox's new comic reality series features one N. Paul Todd, CEO of IOCOR, who pits 12 MBA types against each other in competition for a big cash prize and an even bigger job at his billion-dollar investment firm.
As many New Yorkers can attest, there are plenty of real-life Big Fat Obnoxious Bosses right here in the Big Apple.
Take Kate Spade. On Sept. 11, 2001 — when most workers were fleeing their Manhattan offices for safer ground — the handbag queen wouldn't let her people leave her 23rd Street headquarters, a former assistant told The Post.
The next day, "When Giuliani told everyone to stay home, she made us come in," the assistant said.
"You've got two feet and the trains are working," Spade told staffers, according to the assistant.
Another big fashion meanie is legendary stylist Polly Mellon.
One day, Mellon was waiting in a van for her assistant so they could leave for a photo shoot, another assistant recalled. Annoyed by the delay, Mellon told her driver to hit the gas the moment she saw her minion coming — leaving her in the dust, said the assistant.
It's hard to beat Courtney Love's lack of love for employees. The out-of-control rocker, who splits her time between L.A. and the Big Apple, stiffed her house manager out of about $1,500 pay, according to filings lodged with the California Labor Commission.
Laurentia Harrington worked feverishly organizing Love's move from Los Feliz to a Beverly Hills mansion in just 36 hours, the filings claim.
During the move, Love's marble table fell on Harrington, the filings say. "A simple 'Are you OK?' would have been civilized," Harrington said.
Instead, Love snapped, "I don't need this crap right now!" Harrington claims.
Though never that gruff, Jennifer Lopez has also been accused of being tough on lackeys.
The bootyful diva reportedly demands that, before public appearances, assistants spray her path with a gardenia scent.
And don't even mention Peggy Siegel. Serving under the p.r. powerhouse could be bizarre — especially when she was dieting, one former assistant told The Post. "She'd eat our food . . . go into our offices when we weren't there . . . take anything [edible] she could find," the assistant said.
And don't think for a minute that "Big Fat Obnoxious Boss" applies only to female top dogs.
Of the 2,500 complaints the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission gets in New York state each year, the majority are filed against male bosses.
In the spring of 2003, shortly before his $140 million pay package came to light, then-New York Stock Exchange Chairman Dick Grasso lectured his staff on the value of money. "You can't even buy a pencil without thinking if you need it because the job you save may be your own — or that of the person standing next to you," Grasso said, according to several former NYSE staffers.
Uber-producer Scott Rudin is also a bit tightfisted, a former staffer says.
Rudin's assistants work at least 13 1/2 hours a day — and must be on call all weekend — for $12.50 an hour, plus overtime, the staffer says.
"We'd have to take care of the plumbing at his house, shop for his Prada shoes and run — literally run — six blocks to pick up his lunch from Mangia," the staffer said.