Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Read this: The horrors of being a Hollywood assistant

Swimming With Sharks (1994)
Swimming With Sharks (1994)
Screenshot: Movieclips (YouTube)

The horrors of working as a Hollywood assistant was famously chronicled in 1994's excellent Swimming With Sharks, but the story’s been updated for the modern generation thanks to this new Vulture piece: “I Was A Hollywood Assistant And I Got Yelled At On The Toilet.”

These brave souls relay terrifying tales from their fortunately former jobs, describing 14-hour workdays, no lunch breaks, and getting fired in under a week. One describes having to to plan their boss’ kids’ birthday parties. Another describes her boss thusly: “She started fabricating things in her head. Once, she called HR to complain that I was making her feel fat.” Still another was sent out on an errand to find “actually good ice.” But probably the worst is that bathroom story:

One year we were supposed to be out at 1 p.m. for a holiday and my boss didn’t know, so I messaged him to say I was leaving. Then I went to the bathroom. While I was sitting on the toilet I heard him shouting, asking everyone where I was. He stormed into the bathroom to yell at me and I had to explain that I was done for the day, and I was going to finish shitting and go home.


Many of these former assistants discuss how these jobs impacted their mental health: One is in therapy four days a week and is afraid to get another job. Another says, “I distinctly remember having to put my hands up to protect my face because I had fallen back onto her couch and she was towering over me.” Another: “That’s what they do to you. They make you feel a debt to them. Like they’re doing you a favor. Like you’ll never work in this town again if you say something.”

Read more Hollywood assistant horror stories over at Vulture. At the very least, hopefully your own job will look pretty good in comparison.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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