The CEO of an online marketing firm has been lambasted on social media after posting a ‘squeaky’ selfie on LinkedIn that showed him crying as he announced layoffs.
Braden Wallake, CEO of Columbus, Ohio-based marketing services company HyperSocial, took to LinkedIn to announce the layoffs during a long, drawn-out employee ramble.
It is not known how many employees have been laid off by the company.
“This will be the most vulnerable thing I will ever share,” he wrote. “I went back and forth to post this or not. We just had to lay off a few of our employees.
Wallake then wrote that the layoffs were “my fault” due to a decision he made in February. He admitted that he had “held on to this decision for too long”.
“Now I know my team will say ‘we made this decision together’ but I’m dragging us into it,” he wrote. “And because of those failures, I had to do today, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
“We have always been a people-oriented company. And we always will be,” he added.
“On days like today, I wish I was a business owner who was only driven by money and didn’t care who he hurt along the way,” Wallake wrote. “But I’m not. I’m sure there are hundreds and thousands more like me.
According to HyperSocial’s LinkedIn page, the company, which was founded in 2019, has up to 50 employees. The Post has reached out to Wallake for comment.
“The ones you don’t see about,” he continued. “Because they didn’t lay off 50, 500 or 5,000 employees. They fired 1 or 2 or 3. 1 or 2 or 3 who would still be there if better decisions had been made.
Wallake continued, “I know it’s unprofessional to tell my employees that I love them. But from the bottom of my heart, I hope they know everything I do.
” Each. Every story. Every thing that makes them smile and every thing that makes them cry,” he wrote. “Their families. Their friends. Their hobbies. I’ve always hired people based on who they are as people.
“People with big hearts and big souls. And I can’t think of a time less than this,” Wallake wrote.
Wallake’s post generated nearly 28,500 reactions, more than 4,770 comments and nearly 400 shares on Wednesday afternoon. Most reactions were negative.
“Why don’t you cut your pay or take it until the business is back to where you need it?” one commenter wrote on LinkedIn. “I mean, if you really care about your employees and the hardship you just put them through.”
Another LinkedIn user posted a screenshot of an Instagram post by Wallake from June in which he announced that he had adopted a sea otter.
“Maybe it’s not a good idea to adopt a sea lion at the start of a recession?”
Wallake pushed back, saying the adoption was the result of a “donation made in my name as a birthday present for me” and that he didn’t “actually have a sea otter running around our van. “.
Another LinkedIn user wrote, “Are you serious here?! You may think that all publicity is good publicity.
“For the love of God, show humility or dignity.”
Another reviewer wrote: “I’m sorry your post is causing me bad feelings. This is more about YOUR feelings and not the feelings of the people you had to fire. It feels a bit like self pity .
Others on LinkedIn defended Wallake and criticized those who ridiculed him.
“How about this post where he admits his flaws, his failures and expresses his anguish over the hurt he caused made you feel the need to cram in?” wrote a Wallake advocate.
Wallake posted another message on LinkedIn on Wednesday in response to the backlash. He defended his decision to post the thread and pushed back against suggestions that he would publicly name the terminated employees.
“Hi everyone, yes I am the crying CEO,” he wrote.
“No, my intention was not to pick on me or victimize me. I’m sorry it happened like this.
Wallake continued, “It was not my place to publicly release the names of the employees.”
“What I want to do now is try to fix this and start a thread for people looking for jobs,” he wrote.
The move was a far cry from last year’s widely publicized incident in which the chief executive of Better.com insisted he would lay off hundreds of workers in a three-minute Zoom call.