- Hulu’s documentary “WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn” debuted on April 2.
- It follows the rise and fall of co-working space WeWork and its eccentric founder, Adam Neumann.
- Here are 4 noteworthy details the film revealed about WeWork’s cult-like work environment.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A damning new documentary about WeWork is out.
“WeWork: Or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn” documents the co-working space’s rise from one of the world’s hottest startups to a disastrous initial public offering and mass executive exodus.
The documentary, which is available now on Hulu, brought many of aspects WeWork’s cult-like work environment — including mandatory, alcohol-fueled employee retreats — to life, and juxtaposed CEO Adam Neumann’s lofty promises with his irresponsible spending.
Here are 4 of the most surprising details revealed in the film that highlight how much of a cult WeWork resembled. WeWork was not immediately available for comment.
WeWork summer festivals would start serving alcohol at 4 a.m. and there would be open bars in every 50-yard radius.
Don Lewis, one of at least ten lawyers at WeWork, described the company’s environment as “legitimately the craziest work experience you’ll ever have in your life.”
Every year, WeWork hosted an annual “Summer Camp” employee retreat. Lewis said the Summer Camp started serving alcohol at 4 a.m. and had open bars set up every 50 yards. Scenes from inside the retreat showed raves of hundreds of young people dancing to techno music and pouring beer on top of each other.
“If you wanted to drink ’til the end of time, you could drink ’til the end of time,” Lewis said laughing.
WeWork insiders said Neumann, his wife Rebekah, and other executives would give back-to-back speeches for hours during the day, and at night they would party. Ashton Kutcher and Rick Ross appeared on the summer camp stage in the movie.
WeLive designer Quinton Kerns said he tried to get out of the summer camp one year but was told they were mandatory. Lewis said the company used tracking bracelets to make sure all employees were in attendance.
Read more: Sex, tequila, and a tiger: Employees inside Adam Neumann’s WeWork talk about the nonstop party to attain a $100 billion dream and the messy reality that tanked it
A WeLive commune designer said he “designed everything to hold the weight of two people” because every person living there was young and single
Launched in 2016, WeLive was a co-living, micro-apartment space that charged $1,375 a month for a room that was “200 square-feet on a good day,” former WeLive member August Urbish said in the documentary.
Urbish said he got a text from a friend that allowed him to rent a space in WeLive after completing an essay on why he would make a good candidate. Once Urbish arrived, he said he noticed most residents were young and single.
WeLive designer Kerns said the crew had designed everything for “the weight of two people,” suggesting the single millennials were having sex regularly.
“Everybody was single,” Kerns said. “We actually had a saying that everything had to be designed to hold the weight of two people.”
Later in the movie, Urbish said he alienated his friends outside of WeLive because of all the time he spent in the commune.
“Every time a friend outside of the We community would come over, they would only come over only that one time because they would walk out with this strange impression of what it is,” he said. “Pretty quickly, I had alienated most of my friends outside of the building.”
WeWork had dozens of C-level managers called ‘C-We-Os’ that new employees were expected to familiarize themselves with. One employee joked that is was so they could ‘bow down’ to the execs in the office.
Former WeWork product manager Joanna Strange said employee orientation meetings occurred every Monday and featured a presentation about the “mythology of WeWork.” Strange, who called the videos “propaganda,” said new employees would loudly chant “WE-WORK” at the end of the video so that the whole office could hear.
Strange said orientation videos had many slides that introduced new employees to everyone at the C-level, who WeWork referred to as “C-We-Os.”
Lewis described “C-We-Os” as “mini-CEOs” in different regions who went on skiing trips and race car driving excursions, which were presented during the orientation videos.
“The C-We-Os are people who just want to talk about their awesomeness, they had that very much in common with Adam,” Strange said. “It was almost like you needed to know who was at the top so when they came past you could bow down to them.”
Lewis added there were no minorities in the WeWork C-suite: “There wasn’t proper diversity at WeWork, period, hard stop.”
One manager bragged to colleagues over email about how many people on his team he fired: “Ha bitches I cut more than 7% of my team!”
In 2016, Strange said she was working both her job and her manager’s job to the point where he gave her his passwords. Strange said she used the passwords to log onto her manager’s accounts to do his work for him at times.
Strange said one day she found an email in her manager’s inbox with a list of people he will fire that included her. She said it appeared each manager had to cut 7% of their employees because WeWork was losing money.
Strange said her manager bragged about firing more than 7% of his workers, and that he wrote “Ha bitches I cut more than 7% of my team.”
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