CEO Gets Dragged After Posting 'Infuriatingly Cringe' Crying Selfie After Laying Off Employees
A LinkedIn post by Braden Wallake, the CEO of HyperSocial, is making the rounds for being out of touch.
The platform has become a place where entrepreneurs and career-oriented people often write lengthy, "leadership" posts and cast them to a wide audience, in what some would call the era of the "LinkedIn Influencer."
However, there's a time and a place for theatrics, as one CEO has learned the hard way, after posting a photo of himself crying for inciting layoffs at his company.
Braden Wallake, CEO of HyperSocial (a B2B optimization company), took to LinkedIn on Tuesday to announce that his company was laying off employees.
"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," he wrote. "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."
Wallake then mentioned an ambiguous "decision" he made back in February that failed, which he labeled as the root cause of the layoffs, and noted that only a few employees were let go, but it doesn't mean it made the decision any easier.
"I know it isn't professional to tell my employees that I love them. But from the bottom of my heart, I hope they know how much I do," Wallake wrote in his note. "Every single one. Every single story."
Naturally, the internet had a field day — the original post garnered over 32,000 reactions and 6,700 comments on LinkedIn alone, with many calling Wallake "cringe" and "selfish."
"How about using your network to help those employees find new jobs by tagging them and putting them in the spotlight, as opposed to whining about making difficult decisions as a leader and posting a crying selfie? This is one of the most out of touch posts I've seen in a long time," one LinkedIn user wrote.
"At best, you are making this all about you, when that is not where the focus should primarily be. And seen through another lens, this appears to be an attempt at getting visibility for your company at the expense of real humans whose livelihoods have been impacted directly," one user accused. "A form of guerilla marketing in lieu of communications counsel. It's a no for me. We need to all strive to do better. This is not it."
The post quickly made its rounds on Twitter where Wallake continued to get roasted by the masses, with many calling for an end to the LinkedIn Influencer culture.
LinkedIn is the most toxic place on the internet. Bunch of people flexing mediocre achievements using words like synergy, connecting to random people for the illustrious 500+ connections and CEO's fake crying after firing personnel. I'd rather be here with people saying ratio.— Xav Asslazar (@XavsCrypto) August 11, 2022
LinkedIn is not a real place. This CEO laid people off and posted a picture of himself crying about the decision. I wish I was making this stuff up— Enjoyment Enthusiast (@KingSweetiee) August 10, 2022
The crying CEO selfie is literally everything wrong with business culture and LinkedIn bros combined.— Amber Naslund (@AmberCadabra) August 10, 2022
The LinkedIn Crying CEO is about to become meme status and not in the way he was hoping.— Adrienne Barnes (@AdrienneNakohl) August 10, 2022
LinkedIn has peaked. Just seen a selfie of a crying man. He's crying because he's a CEO who just laid off his workforce.— Sarah Jaimie Bahar (@SarahJBahar) August 10, 2022
CEO who took a pic of him crying on LinkedIn after laying off staff is the most infuriatingly cringe thing I've seen in a while. I can't imagine the lack of emotional intelligence that would result in centering yourself during one of the worse moments of your employees lives.— Africa Kenyah | Coding Therapist (@codingTherapist) August 11, 2022
the crying linkedin CEO guy isn't wrong for crying, he's wrong for starting his post out like this: "This will be the most vulnerable thing I'll ever share."— drew olanoff (@yoda) August 10, 2022
he made a layoff about himself. that's his main mistake.
Wallake maintained his stance in the comment section, and in a follow-up post on Wednesday, apologizing for the way his original post came off and encouraging employees seeking work to comment on the new post for potential employers to find.
"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," Wallake penned. "It was not my place to out the employees' names publicly. What I want to do now, is try to make better of this situation and start a thread for people looking for work."
According to his LinkedIn profile, Wallake is a five-time college dropout who has been CEO of Hypersocial for three years.
Entrepreneur has reached out to Wallake for comment.
HyperSocial was not alone in doling out layoffs this month, with other companies like HootSuite, Groupon, Walmart and Robinhood letting go hundreds of employees.
Entrepreneur Editors' Picks
Jennifer Lopez Is Done With 'Happy to Be Here.' She Thinks Latina Entrepreneurs Are Undervalued, So She's Working to Give Them $14 Billion in Loans.
Her Company Is Worth $1 Billion. But It Began as a Way to Solve Her Own Shipping Problems.
TikTok Is Doling Out Age-Old Resume Advice. This Former Microsoft Recruiter Says You Should Ignore It.
6 Benefits of Working With a Franchise Consultant or Broker
Sallie Krawcheck Was the Queen of Wall Street, and Raised $100 Million to Launch Her Own Business. Then She Hit an Impasse She Hadn't Seen Coming.