‘Crying CEO’ criticized for tearful LinkedIn post about layoffs claims intent was not to ‘victimise’ himself

A business owner and CEO who shared a crying selfie to LinkedIn while announcing company layoffs has addressed the criticism he faced.

On Tuesday, Braden Wallake, the CEO of business-to-business marketing agency HyperSocial, shared the emotional post on LinkedIn, where he described it as the “most vulnerable thing” he will “ever share”.

“This will be the most vulnerable thing I’ll ever share. I’ve gone back and forth whether to post this or not. We just had to layoff a few of our employees. I’ve seen a lot of layoffs over the last few weeks on LinkedIn. Most of those are due to the economy, or whatever other reason. ours? My fault,” the chief executive officer wrote. “I made a decision in February and stuck with that decision for far too long. Now, I know my team will say that ‘we made that decision together,’ but I lead us into it.

“And because of those failings, I had to do today, the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

In the post, Wallake then revealed that he’d had to fire his employees despite “loving them” from the “bottom of [his] heart,” before admitting that he couldn’t think of a “lower moment than this”.

The post, which has since gone viral, prompted backlash on LinkedIn, where many users questioned why Wallake chose to post about the situation on the career platform rather than take initiative and change the situation.

On Wednesday, Wallake addressed the criticism in a follow-up LinkedIn post, where he referred to himself as “the crying CEO,” before sharing his intent to transform the situation into something positive.

“Hey everyone, yes, I am the crying CEO. No, my intent was not to make it about me or victimize myself. I am sorry it came across that way. It was not my place to out the employees’ names publicly,” he wrote. “What I want to do now, is try to make better of this situation and start a thread for people looking for work.”

In the post, the CEO then urged LinkedIn users looking for jobs to post their resumes, desired job titles and qualifications, before informing employers that the comments section would provide an “opportunity to hire amazing people”.

While some of the comments were positive, others continued to criticise Wallake, with many questioning why he hadn’t removed the first post showing his emotional response to the company’s layoffs.

“You’re sorry it came across that way? If you were really sorry you would have deleted that post and not even made this post and just started fresh by talking about something else,” one person wrote. “Instead of the crying post is still up, and it is apparent you are loving all the attention this is bringing to you. Not sure how much farther this shovel can dig a hole but I hope for your sake that you hit pavement soon so you can start fixing the things that you started.”

Another person said: “Quite literally what you did. You made bad decisions and then stole the moment to make yourself the victim for likes. You are now riding the 15 minutes of fame to loosely promote yourself and/or your brand. Delete it all and don’t do this.”

“I saw your last post of the pic crying. I would delete it now if you do not truly care about the engagements and attention. Because it does nothing to help the people you laid off or jobseekers as a whole,” someone else wrote. “I hope behind the scenes you are actually helping those individuals you laid off.”

“Uh yeah, congrats on making all of this even weirder. Should probably just consider logging off for a few years, bud,” another person added.

However, others defended Wallake, while some took the opportunity to use the comments section as he intended, with LinkedIn users posting about the jobs they are looking for and their qualifications.

As of now, the CEO’s original LinkedIn post is still up.

The Independent has contacted Wallake for comments.

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