Hollywood Hiring ‘Rage Coaches’ to Take on Abusive Bosses

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Producer Scott Rudin and the cast of Hello, Dolly!” accept the award for Best Revival of a Musical onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony …
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Hollywood is now planning to hire “rage coaches” to help take on “bully” bosses amid several high-profile scandals over alleged abuse in the industry, including producers Harvey Weinstein and Scott Rudin, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, and director Joss Whedon.

“You say what is acceptable and what is not,” Carole Kirschner — the head of the Writers Guild of America (WGA)’s showrunner training program — told Hollywood Reporter of the new initiative.

In Kirschner’s current role with the WGA, she is oftentimes in charge of teaching writers, who have never been managers, how to run a writers room.

“In this room, we do this, and this is not tolerated,” she said. “You don’t wait until a problem happens.”

Executive Coach Lacey Leone McLaughlin added fewer employees have been tolerating this kind of behavior ever since millennials began joining the workforce.

“People leave organizations now because of their bosses, not because of pay and compensation,” she said.

McLaughlin added that Hollywood has taken longer to adapt, as even entry-level jobs in the entertainment industry are highly coveted and competitive, which has contributed to a culture where abuse is tolerated as part of paying one’s dues.

A survey of the British film and TV industry discovered that 84 percent of workers have either witnessed or experienced bullying or harassment, and those who experienced bullying were twice as likely to want to quit their jobs and faced a high probability of mental health problems.

Therefore, there is now a market for “rage coaches” in Hollywood.

The report added that abusive bosses — even those who don’t think they need coaches — are likely to accept them anyway, due to fear of being “canceled.”

Mike Bayer, a rage coach who started as a drug and alcohol counselor and now works with many challenging personalities in the industry, told Hollywood Reporter that “a person who is looking to save face is not really interested in changing, but the issue has gotten better because people have become afraid of being canceled or losing their careers.”

Business coaching overall will reportedly be an $11.6 billion industry in 2021, with top-tier executive coaches charging a flat rate of anywhere from $20,000 to $110,000 for six months.

“Bullies used to be OK in Hollywood,” Kirschner said. “The sun is setting on them. It’s long overdue, and I don’t think we’re going to go backward.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler @alana, and on Instagram.

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