Inspired by Iggy Azalea's Twitter-led Papa John's screed, we asked you to share your own tales of celebrity terror. SO many of you had so much to say. We heard tales of stars long forgotten; of Rihanna ordering (and sending back) buttered noodles; of Harrison Ford flipping the bird. These are Gawker readers' best stories of their worst celebrity encounters. (Be sure to check the original post for the full treasure trove.)
A few years back I worked as a cook in a hotel with an attached 'upscale' pub. It was a popular spot for celebs to stay because of its proximity to both an indoor hockey arena (which could be repurposed for concerts/large stand up shows a large local landmark that was often used for outdoor concerts.
Rihanna was doing a tour with Akon at the time. and She chose to stay at our hotel instead of the one Akon was staying at. Rumor has it the reason was because she wanted to be the most important person at the hotel.
A slow night close to closing time she comes down to the pub for a meal. Her and two of her friends(?) take up a booth and have the surrounding area blocked off so no one could bother them while they ate... in the empty restaurant. Her body guard sits at the bar.
Her first order comes in. Calamari. Pretty straight forward. We had pretty good calamari. I make up the plate, add the regular garnishes. A swoosh of sweet chili mayo here, a few micro greens there. Nothing too overpowering. Just the calamari resting on a small handful of greens, two sauces and that is it. Not even a minute after it leaves the kitchen it gets sent back saying that they wanted just calamari. None of the other stuff. I fry another portion and send it out. No complaints afterwards.
Next they order mains. The two with her ordered stuff from the menu but Rihanna wanted something custom. Usually we don't do special orders but because her order was super easy I was okay with it. She wanted noodles with parmesan cheese and garlic. I put all 3 plates together and send them out. For Rihanna I made capellini (angel hair pasta) with garlic and parm. Salt and pepper were the only other things I added. Almost instantly her pasta comes back... "it's not good enough." Was the only criticism and I was asked to make it again. I make almost the exact same thing, taste for quality and send it out again. It comes back just as fast. Same problem. I'm kinda confused. I don't know how I could possibly make those three ingredients taste any different. Risking having to make the same meal for the 4th time I send out a new plate the exact same way. "About time they got it right" she told the server. That same server told me she had never wanted to strangle someone so much in her life. I guess she was equally hard on her.
I finish my shift, shut the kitchen down, change into my street clothes and sit at the bar. The 3 of them and the bodyguard are still there. I got to watch her treat her server like she was a child for another 20 minutes before they left and went to their room.
Harrison Ford gave me the finger the instant I recognized him driving the sports car next me at a traffic light in Reading, PA in the mid-90's
File under: Weirdo/Freak/Sad
I was at Burke Williams Day Spa in Santa Monica in the late '90s. I'd gone a bit early, so I could relax in the sauna before my massage appointment. I got my locker key, undressed, showered, and entered the sauna, which was empty. It's not a huge sauna: basically a long bench on one side and then a smaller bench perpendicular to that, forming an L-shape. A few minutes later the door opened and a guy came in, wearing a hand towel draped over his head. He sat down on the smaller bench and I immediately saw it was Kevin Spacey.
I was a fan of his, and hadn't heard anything about his sexual proclivities at the time. I thought it was kind of cool that he was there the same time that I was (such an LA/NY thing - "oh look, Geena Davis is buying sunscreen at my Rite-Aid?!"), but I wasn't going to intrude on his personal space by saying anything to him. Would that he'd felt the same obligation.
After a few minutes, he starts rubbing his crotch through his towel. He wasn't blatant about it, but it was easy to tell what he was doing. After he got his pup tent up, he started stretching his legs. This meant he "accidentally" rubbed against my legs a couple of times, then apologized. I waved it off the first time, then grimace-smiled the next time as I'd pretty much had enough. The third and final time he decided to brush his leg against mine and then just leave it there. I looked over at him. He had his eyes closed but was rubbing his crotch again. I got up and left at that point.
I really wanted to lean over and tell him I thought it was pretty stupid for an Oscar-winning actor to hang out in the sauna at a legit health spa and assume a wet hand towel draped over his head would give him the anonymity to make unwanted sexual advances. Get it together, Spacey.
This story isn't mine, but too good to pass up: it's that of my now-ex-partner, who is a flight attendant. It takes place in maybe 1994, when a certain celebrity wasn't quite so famous....
My partner was working first class, and had yet to reach the stage where he was tired of dealing with passengers and their issues. At one point a woman boarded wearing a full length fur coat. Attempting to be helpful, he offers to hang the coat up in the little closet up front. She refuses, clearly annoyed at the suggestion, insisting on placing it on the seat next to her. My partner explains that it will be a full flight, and the seat likely will be full, and she'd be better off hanging it up. She glares at him and refuses again.
Soon after, the passenger next to the woman arrives, forcing her to move the fur coat. Again my partner offers to hang it up. The woman, now *very* annoyed, says that's not acceptable. He points out that the only other option for her is if she keeps it on her lap for the flight. Also not acceptable to her. He tells her he has a few things to do, but he'll be right back if she has any other ideas. My partner starts to walk away, when the fur coat lands around his head and shoulders. Surprised, the turns to the woman who yells at him "Just do something with the goddamn coat!".
This was a very bad move on her part.
My partner, coat in hand, went over to the intercom even though the flight attendants in coach saw had happened, and asked them if they had "Any goddamn room in the goddamn back for a goddamned coat." They took to the intercom to tell him — and everyone else on the plane — that sorry, they had "no goddamned room for a goddamned coat in the back." And so they went back and forth this way for several minutes, trying to figure out what to do with the "goddamned coat" until finally my partner just hung it up in the first class coat closet while the woman did her best to ignore everything and everyone. She barely acknowledged his existence for the remainder of the flight. I do believe that he handed her the coat ever so gracefully and with a smile after they landed.
The best part? My partner had no idea who the woman was, but the other flight attendants did. Which meant the moment my partner got home, he asked me "Who the hell is Martha Stewart?" When I found out why, I couldn't stop laughing for a long, long time.
Donald Trump once personally threw me out of a casino. He saw me sitting on a low wall outside the buffet, and he angrily gestured toward me to one of the goons walking through the casino with him. The goon came over and told me I'd have to leave.
I was 7.
Catherine Zeta Jones
I was eight and naive enough to think that acting in movies was a merit-based career path, accompanying my show-biz parent to a cast and crew screening of "The Mask of Zorro."
Being young and precocious I interrupted Catherine Zeta Jones at the after party and told her "I want to be an actress!" She turned to me, looked me up and down, and said "You're pretty enough, I suppose," then went back to her conversation.
In retrospect, being considered "pretty enough" by one of the world's great beauties is a compliment, but at the time, I was a child, and it was completely demoralizing. Hard work and talent aren't the means to a successful life? What does "pretty enough" mean anyway? In many ways, I think of that moment as the turning point when I went from feeling at ease in the world to constantly thinking about how everyone was judging me on my appearance.
John Mayer, his four tour. I was young (13, maybe?) Stuck around after the concert to meet him. He went down the line and hugged all these pretty girls around my age then came to me, gave me a look of disgust, shook his head no and moved on. I was devastated. Don't worry guys, I turned out pretty good looking.
I wouldn't call this the 'worst', but I was walking near the Time Warner Center last summer when I saw a large group of big guys, mixed with random people walking as a group, seemingly surrounding someone that was walking with them. When I managed to take a peek, I noticed it was that Annie girl, Quvenzhané Wallis. She had about 20-25 people 'protecting her'. I kept staring, out of sheer stupidity, when we managed to make eye contact. What followed was the the stankest glare, from the top of my head to the tip of my shoes, and an eyeroll. I am so beneath her.
The Freaks Come Out at Night
A female friend of mine was doing background work on Law and Order. On the lunch break, Chris Noth pulled her aside and asked if she would help him run lines...in his trailer. She said no. He persisted, she kept saying no and he finally let it go. A couple hours later, she's walking to set to play one of the police officers at the crime scene. Mr. Noth sees her, pulls the director aside, and a few minutes later my friend is asked to leave the set, as "Mr. Noth is uncomfortable playing the scene with a female cop."
But my personal story is when he saw a show I was working on and invited the whole cast to have drinks at his bar. Very exciting, since he's a big TV star and we're a bunch of starving 20-30yr old actors. He proceeded to sit at the head of the table and talk about himself the whole night, hit on all the girls, and then left the cast with the bill. His included.
Pete Wentz dated a couple friends of mine, girls he grew up with in the suburbs of Chicago, around about the time when Fallout Boy's first album came out. The deal was that he got to fuck each of them whenever he wanted and bring them on tour with Fallout Boy one at a time and they were falling all over themselves to be the one he wanted in the moment, while still trying to remain friends. It was awkward all around because one of them would show up with a new pair of expensive shoes he'd bought for her, and the other one would grit her teeth and smile because all she'd gotten was a quick fuck in the ass and then been asked to spend the night curled around his drum set on the tour bus in the driveway while he filled his parents' hot tub with local high school girls. (I heard he had a favorite thing to do with his bros and bandmates where they'd invite all of these young girls over and pour beers onto their heads and say things like "You fucking love it!", and my two desperate concubine friends would laugh and laugh at how hard these younger girls were trying to hang out with Pete Wentz, Rock God.) It went back and forth like that for a while before I realized that all these people were such fucking assholes, I couldn't even look at any of them anymore. I was only actually around him once, when I went over to my friend's apartment to pick up some movies I'd loaned her. She asked me to come up and chat with her for a minute and I swear I was there for a good 10 minutes on her couch with her before I realized that Pete Wentz, Shadow Douche, was reclined in a chair back in a corner, hat pulled over his face, playing with his Sidekick, rolling his stupid lip piercing around with his tongue. He hadn't said hello or acknowledged that another person had come in the room, so naturally I jumped a fucking mile when he muttered something out loud to his phone. "Uh, hi," I said, and he nodded at me without looking at me, and I got out of there so goddamn fast, because I knew my friend was just doing her best nonchalant LOOK AT WHO'S IN MY HOUSE RIGHT NOW. HE'S TOTALLY MY BOYFRIEND.
Anyway. A couple years later I was sitting in the back of a bar in Chicago where a couple of (stable, adult) friends had brought me for a low-key birthday drink when some kind of secret door opened in the wall and a bunch of men in black t-shirts pushed through. Pete fucking Wentz walked in, dragging this really shiny, coked-out version of Ashley Simpson behind him, and behind her trailed both of Pete's cast-off fuck puppets, the two of them just kind of smiling dumbly and staring all bleary-eyed, like trained monkeys who were just happy that they still got a food pellet at the end of the day. Ashley Simpson stepped on my foot on her way past, and then their security asked us to "clear the area" so these four high-priority human beings could have some privacy. Happy Birthday! Love, Pete.
Davy Jones grabbed my wife's ass while getting a photo at a charity event we were attending in Santa Monica.
The Demons of Hollywood
Orlando Bloom came into the menswear store in NYC where I worked. He parked his motorcycle in the middle of the sidewalk directly outside the store. He was wearing baggy crotch sweatpants. When came in he yelled from the front of the store to where I was standing in the back, "Yo, IS MY BRO BACK THERE??" (We also did men's grooming in the back.) I shrugged and said I had no idea who his bro was. Anyway, he walked around with the menswear manager for a few hours picking out clothes shirtless and generally being a fucking asshole. When it came time to pay, he asked if he was going to get the "I'm wearing your shirt discount." He has a net worth of 35 million dollars. He's a fucking dick.
Dax Shepherd and Kristen Bell
In 2008 my friend and I got out of class in lower Manhattan and wanted to smoke a joint. We walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge Skateboard which was fairly empty at the time because high school was still in session for the day. My friend and I sat up against the wall while he rolled a joint and we noticed there was just 1 dude skating: Dax Shepard. He's got some skills. He was there with a girl who also posted up against the same wall we were but about 20 ft away. After we finished rolling our joint we realized that our lighter was empty. The girl posted up against the wall had pulled out a glass bowl and started packing it. My friend and I figured we could use her lighter for a sec so we waited until her and Dax were done killing the bowl. I made my friend walk up to her to politely ask to use her lighter. She said 'NO' and reamed us out for not having our own lighter. It was Kristen Bell.
In the early aughts, I was a supervisor at the FAO Schwarz in Boston while I was in college. One day, Rita Wilson walked in and bought a whole bunch of Brio stuff. Brio was a European, wooden train/ train track manufacturer, sort of a predecessor to the Thomas the Tank Engine stuff. In fact, they were compatible. Anyway, there were a bazillion different accessories, and in many cases we only had one of each item. The next day, she comes in to return a few of them, except she doesn't have a receipt, peeled off the stickers with the SKU, couldn't remember how much she paid for one item that was the last of its kind, which I found out because as a supervisor, I had to deal with it. And boy, was she a bitch.
She kept insisting that she was in a hurry, and when I told her it would be far easier with a receipt (because I couldn't find the SKU for that one pesky item and had to look it up in a database and I wasn't quick enough for her) and was she sure she didn't have it, she whips out her wallet, grabs a bunch of receipts and starts reciting "Saks, Diesel, Cynthia Rowley..." and a bunch of other high end stores nearby. She ends with giving me this impertinent, bitchy, exasperated look, as if the situation were my doing, and never have I ever wanted to tell anybody how much I hate Forest Gump as I did at that moment. I made up a price and did the return and sent her on her way. She was seriously one of the rudest people I have ever met.
Life's Little Indignities
I watched a very young, New Yorker get a touch of stage fright and have to be scrambled into a restroom so he could yak at one of his first West Coast performances at the Hollywood Palladium before about 4000 people. Who knew that guy would one day marry Beyoncé.
I had a short, tense telephone conversation one time with Josh Brolin, though it was completely the fault of the company I was working for at the time.
The company I worked for had a list of famous people who had done business with it over the years. Josh Brolin was one of those famous people, and was listed as an actor. No problem there. The problem is someone decided to list him as the son of James Brolin (still okay so far) and Barbara Streisand (whoops!).
After being informed by Mr. Brolin that 1) Barbara Streisand was was not his mother and that 2) his mother had died tragically, I apologized as much as I could, put the phone down, walked over to our web team and had them make a quick update.
Judy Collins and Shirley MacLaine
Judy Collins came into my restaurant every Monday night with a gaggle of her friends who made the entire waitstaff utterly fucking miserable week after week. They made us cut dessert into four sections. Ms. Collins was obsessed with people recognizing her even no one ever did. They insisted on sitting in the upstairs section because of this, forcing one of us to run up and down the stairs nine billion times for our paltry 15%. One of her friends referred to my engagement ring as a "starter ring".
My favorite celeb who also happened to be a total pain in the ass was Shirley MacLaine. I brought her a cappuccino (she was on the balcony of her room relaxing but there were no bussers available to do room service ), and she asked me if we had Sugar in the Raw. I said "no, I'm so sorry" and she was like "WHAT THE HELL GOOD ARE YOU THEN" in a way that totally made me laugh and then she gave me ten bucks as a tip and was like "you're a doll, ignore me". She was super sassy and I loved her despite the fact that she bordered on rude.
I've had many celebrity encounters, but most were perfectly fine, or boring. The oddest was standing in line behind Barbara Hershey while she bought an enema kit at a drugstore in Beverly Hills.
The Ones With Members of the Cast of Friends
I was working as an intern with NBC during one fall press tour, Matthew Perry was there for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. He demanded sugar free red bull, and for whatever reason we didn't have it. He threw a huge tantrum, refused to participate. He was unbearable, I couldn't believe it. He did the bare minimum that he was contractually obligated to do then asked for a car to come pick him up. His NBC publicist, i won't name her here, scrambled and managed to quickly get three cars there ready for him. He came walking out and got into his own car that he arranged without telling us, leaving her practically in tears holding the keys to three cars. Chandler is an asshole.
Good story to balance it out. Working the red carpet of the emmys down at USC's Shrine Charlie and Martin sheen were stuck in jammed traffic several blocks away. I had to go pick them up in a golf cart and bring them back so they didn't miss Conan's opening, he was hosting that year. They were kind and hilarious.
I was walking down a residential street on Chicago's north side in the early spring of 2001, and an older lady was desperately trying to run up behind us in spiked heels while clutching a fur coat to her chest. She kept yelling "DAVID!" while waving her clutch purse in the air.
Neither of my friends, nor I, are named David, so we didn't know who she was yelling at until we spotted a shabbily-dressed guy loping schlubbishly far up ahead of us. We figured he must be 'David,' but he seemed completely unaware of what was happening. Being good Samaritans, and having just finished a rehearsal for a comedy show, we all three at the same time yelled, "DAVID!" in the most obnoxiously loud voices possible.
Up ahead, David Schwimmer spun around with a look on his face that screamed two things: he desperately needed a pitcher of black coffee and to kick each of our asses.
We innocently pointing to the older lady who was just catching up with us, whereupon he craned his neck and relaxed his rage-veins. She thanked us as she scampered past.
After a pause, my one friend said, "So that was David Schwimmer."
"Yes, yes it was," I answered.
After another pause, my other friend gravely whispered, "We could have taken him."
Phoebe (and Julia Louis-Dreyfus)
In the summer of 1999, I was working at a small indie movie theater that was just behind the technology curve. We still accepted personal checks and cash but didn't have a credit card machine. However, we at least recognized that we were too indie for our own good, and there was an ATM 20 feet away from the ticket window. One weekday matinee, I was the only person selling tickets and Lisa Kudrow was in my (very short) line. She tried to pay by credit card and I politely apologized for the inconvenience and informed her that we didn't accept credit cards, but that there was an ATM just steps away. She got incredibly huffy and actually used the line, "don't you know who I am?!" Given that it was peak Friends popularity, I certainly did, and I took a vicious delight in replying "Yes, I do Ms. Kudrow. However, I still don't have a credit card machine so I can't accept your credit card as payment here."
Also at that same movie theater, Julia Louis Dreyfus complained repeatedly about the price of water bottles and concessions. She's an actual billionaire, complaining to a teenager earning minimum wage. The mind boggles.
That theater absolutely ruined any incipient celebrity worship I might have had. People whose talent I respected all turned out to be assholes while Adam Sandler - Adam Sandler!!! - was the nicest gem of a person. There was a little girl tantruming because we didn't sell cheese popcorn and he got down on the floor, played with her, made her laugh, charmed her overwhelmed grandmother and diffused the whole situation.
The Best Story
Mandy Moore, by far. I used to live in the West Village in '08. One afternoon I went to the local Rite Aid during rush hour and I remember I had a bunch of stuff I picked up in my arms. As I grabbed a large 20 pack of batteries in some middle section, I turned around to head toward the register, and some woman walks–plows right into me. All of my stuff goes yard sale across the floor, and I give a quick embarrassed "sorry, are you ok?" as I immediately react to kneel down to grab everything–even if the it wasn't entirely my fault. As I'm on my knees fumbling between toilet paper and batteries, this woman is simply standing there where she stood, not helping, a bit awkward. I look up at her and sure enough, it's Mandy Moore. And oh my hell, is she giving me the death look, and definitely not the same look she was giving in A Walk to Remember. She just remained there, disgusted at me, watching me pick it all up, making me feel like a low piece of shit. She walks eventually walks off and I'm now in a long line at the register that of course has like 5 registers with 1 person working them–sorta taking it all in, slightly reeling about that bitch. That's when I start to hear someone behind me huffing and puffing in the back of the line. Sure enough, it's the Moore bitch. She was obviously in a frantic rush to be somewhere, somewhere not domestic like a rite aid where all the plebes exist. She does this the whole time till I check out, and as I leave I look back at her with a "cya later cunt" smirk on my face. Made me get a little dignity back getting out of there before she did.
Heading home, I lived across the street above the Cowgirl restaurant, and next to it was this really good smoothie place at the time called Elixir or something. It was empty, and I'm all needin'-a-smoothie-stat to calm my temper down from that bitch's humiliation attempt. As I order, the door chimes set off as it flies open. It's. The. MotherFuckin. Bitch. Huffing and puffing through her nostrils, literally puffing down the back of my neck. I turn back around to the smoothie dispatch, and gave my best, idiot midwestern "whatcha got on the menu today" questionnaire. I was asking the dumbest questions about their offerings, while thinking out loud my thought process as to which would be the best to my liking. The perfect stall tactic. She was absolutely furious, trying to argue with me to move aside. I just ignored her and didn't acknowledged she existed–just like what she'd done to me. She's was so inflated I don't even think she even recognized me from 10 min ago in the Rite Aid. Mandy kept trying to speak up to the register trying to get them to take her order over mine, but I just raised my voice louder when she did. Made her sit through a couple minutes listening to my conversation with myself. Best part was, the employees wouldn't even acknowledge her. I was the local there, they know me, it was my turf. God it it felt good.
Finally got my blueberry banana with granola, didn't even look at her when I walked out, and went upstairs to my apt. I've experienced and seen some crazy shit during my time on Hudson St., but that was one of the most bizarre things to happen in literally 20 minutes.
Mandy if this thread ever comes up in an internet search you do on yourself, let me leave you with this: Your self-absorbed celebrity-pass bullshit doesn't work, you're not even a has been, just a has once. You're just a basic bitch, and I'm the local.
[Art by Tara Jacoby]