When I first heard about this, I assumed he was chewing out a production assistant. On set there is a hierarchy system. The cast is on top and way at the bottom is a production assistant. When I found out it was a Director of Photography I was shocked. Director of Photography are on top of the camera crew. They can be paid, anywhere from $500 dollars a day (very low) and higher. They are in charge of making sure the scene is 'perfect' from the perspective of the camera. They make sure lighting and props are all just right. Usually a director will ask them questions and go by what they say. Producers will also ask them and go by what they say.
I once was on a show that the director acted just like this. He would suddenly explode and chew someone out. It was usually the production assistants, but no one would really escape his tantrums. One day an actual cast member walked off set and said she was going to talk to her attorney, production had to be shut down. A lot of us were internally clapping for her for standing up against him.
I started figuring out when he had these explosions, he had snorted or was lacking the snort of the white powder.