One of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood is that The Wrap’s Sharon Waxman is a boss from hell who rules her company like a tyrant.
Now several current and former employees of the entertainment news site have come forward to accuse their boss of abusive workplace behavior, comparing their experiences to The Devil Wears Prada and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Waxman’s behavior was reportedly so extreme that she allegedly berated an employee for taking his fiancée to an oncologist appointment, which prompted an internal company investigation. In another instance, she allegedly threatened to fire another staffer for working from home to care for an injured child.
“I don’t say this lightly,” an ex-staffer told The Daily Beast. “Sharon Waxman is one of the most awful people that I have known in my life.”
The Daily Beast spoke to 20 anonymous The Wrap workers, current and former, many of whom feared professional and legal retaliation if their names were to be published.
“It was very The Devil Wears Prada. It was really demoralizing and degrading,” an ex-employee said.
She “really treats her employees like the worst kind of robber baron factory owner ever,” another ex-staffer said.
Others recounted Jekyll and Hyde-type behavior, where she would switch whiplash-style between nasty and nice.
“I’ve been around CEOs and politicians and like, actually important powerful people, and people that should be scary… and she is the scariest person I’ve ever met,” another person told The Daily Beast.
Waxman’s ex-husband reportedly heads the company’s human resources department, which made matters worse for employees who felt they had no one to turn to.
Last year, Waxman allegedly chewed out an employee for taking his fiancée to an oncologist for a cancer check-up.
“What are you thinking?” Waxman reportedly said to the employee. “Does she not have a mother or a brother or a family member that can do that shit for her?”
The employee quit on the spot, prompting the internal investigation. It remains unclear what the investigation found.
In another incident recalled by multiple sources, Waxman allegedly chastised a reporter who was concerned for her father’s safety during the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
“We need to get the story out and then you can call him,” she allegedly told the reporter.
In a statement to the Daily Beast, Waxman didn’t take personal responsibility for the accusations made against her.
“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 said.
“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.”
Waxman founded The Wrap as a competitor to long-established Hollywood trade publications including Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. She is the company’s CEO and top editor, overseeing every aspect of the publication.
Many staffers at The Wrap feel overworked and underpaid, according to the report. Entry-level reporters can expect to receive a base salary of around $30,000 per year, with a bonus structure based on the number of page views they generate per month.