TheWrap launches an investigation into CEO Sharon Waxman o accused of screaming at staff
TheWrap launched an investigation into its CEO Sharon Waxman after she was accused of stopping an employee from taking his fiancée to the oncologist for a cancer check-up and then screaming at him for slacking off.
The 58-year-old founder of the Hollywood-focused media business news site reportedly told a former employee whose fiancée had cancer: ‘What are you thinking?
‘Does she not have a mother or a brother or a family member that can do that s*** for her?’
This was the ex-employee’s ‘last straw,’ which happened in fall of 2020, and he quit on the spot, according to The Daily Beast.
Current and former anonymous workers at TheWrap dished more details to The Daily Beast, likening Waxman’s workplace to The Devil Wears Prada and Waxman herself to ‘Jekyll and Hyde’.
‘It was really demoralizing and degrading,’ they said, referring to the dictatorial magazine editor Miranda Priestly in the film, who was played by Meryl Streep.
The CEO also allegedly had ‘screaming outbursts’ and was known to tell off employees who had to handle family emergencies during work hours.
Sharon Waxman (pictured), 58, CEO of Hollywood and media business news site TheWrap was reportedly known to have a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ demeanor where she was pleasant one moment and screaming at an employee the next
She reportedly could be relatively pleasant but got very hot-headed at a moment’s notice.
A current employee said on her boss’s demeanor: ‘If you’re doing what she wants and she’s in a good mood then she can be quite lovely, and if not then there can be screaming and yelling and chaos.’
Another insider told The Daily Beast Waxman even threatened one staffer for working from home to care for their injured child.
A former writer said of their boss: ‘I’ve been around CEOs and politicians and like, actually important powerful people, and people that should be scary like prisoners, and she is the scariest person I’ve ever met.’
To make things worse Waxman’s ex-husband headed the company’s human-resources department and many employees felt as if they had no safe place to turn.
Employees brave enough to speak to The Daily Beast did so on the condition of anonymity for fear of professional and legal repercussions imposed by TheWrap.
The day TheWrap’s publicist caught wind of The Daily Best’s story on the company’s toxic workplace Waxman reportedly announced a day off for all employees.
Yet according to a spokesperson from the media outlet, TheWrap said that the day off had nothing to do with the revealing report that was about to be published.
Just yesterday Waxman held a meeting with all of her employees and promised to do better by bringing in an outside consulting firm to improve TheWrap’s workplace culture.
However, Waxman denied the allegations in a statement she wrote to The Daily Beast.
‘I was very sorry to learn that some current and former employees have had experiences at TheWrap that are not consistent with our values or the environment we work to foster,’ she adding.
Anonymous past and present staffers told The Daily Beast that Waxman created a ‘toxic’ work environment but felt they had no safe place to turn because Waxman’s ex-husband headed TheWrap’s human-resource department
Waxman held a meeting with all of her employees after catching wind of The Daily Beast’s revealing report and promised to do better by bringing in an outside consulting firm to improve TheWrap’s workplace culture
The tyrannical boss added: ‘Providing a safe, enjoyable, and thriving workplace is essential to any business, and something we have always made a priority from the time we started 12 years ago.
‘While I don’t believe these allegations accurately reflect our current work environment, it’s clear that we have some work to do, and I am committed to doing it.’
Yet another ex-employee bashed their former boss for running TheWrap ‘with an iron fist,’ although they did commend ‘the fact that she owns this company and is the only female sole owner of a trade publication in Hollywood’.
Waxman oversees every inch of TheWrap as the digital media outlet’s founder, CEO, top editor and public face. The anonymous source called the feat ‘hella impressive’.
But she still reportedly exuded a ‘gross abuse of power,’ and a former staffer told The Daily Beast they were ‘terrified to make a mistake because you would get publicly shamed or shamed in private’.
Others – The Daily Beast spoke to 20 anonymous TheWrap workers, past and present – called the office ‘toxic’.
‘I never thought I would be yelled at in such a way and watching her yell and shred other people was really unsettling,’ one person said.
Another employee, who just recently left the company, recalled Waxman having what they described to be an adult tantrum at an event when her microphone wasn’t working.
‘It was terrifying,’ they said of the meltdown, adding that all the employees just ‘stood there’. ‘You couldn’t stop her. You had to let her yell and scream. Then the event started and the mask came on and then she was very warm to people.’
Ex-employees tried to reason with Waxman’s alleged bouts of screaming, thinking it could possibly be her ‘tough love’ management style or way to make sure people don’t ‘take advantage of her and not produce their best work’.
However, they agreed that whatever the reason, Waxman’s frequent yelling ‘created a toxic environment where everyone worked defensively’.
Thom Geier (pictured), TheWrap’s deputy and executive editor, told The Daily Beast that Waxman is merely a ‘demanding boss who holds her staff to a high standard’ and attributed her shouting fits to the pressures of working in a breaking news environment
Thom Geier, TheWrap’s deputy and executive editor, told The Daily Beast: ‘Is Sharon a demanding boss who holds her staff to a high standard? Yes. Is she blunt when she thinks you fall short of that standard? Yes.’
But he seemed to brush the screaming fits off as a result of working ‘in a breaking news environment’.
He added: ‘Can there be shouting sometimes when you want to get a story out and when you’re wanting to get things hurried? Sure, that can happen. That’s happened at virtually every news outlet I’ve ever worked at. Is there more of that at TheWrap than there are in other places? I don’t really think so.’
TheWrap’s chief revenue officer Lynne Segal chimed in, adding that Waxman is ‘the ultimate pro’.
Geier even went so far as to suggest that The Daily Beast’s article was a conspiracy executed by TheWrap’s rival Penske Media.
‘I’d be curious to know how many of the people that you’ve spoken to who have complained about Sharon Waxman and TheWrap are now working for Jay Penske,’ he said.
‘I’m fascinated by the notion that, you know, there are people who went to work for Sharon and then went to work for Jay Penske. And you know we’re the last of the independent trades, and the only one that isn’t funded by a Saudi government that murders journalists.’