‘Clout Chasing’: CEO Posts Crying Selfie In Announcement Of Staff Layoff, Gets Blasted By Social Media

A technology CEO went viral for posting a crying selfie along with a layoff announcement, effectively making his employees’ lost jobs all about himself.

In a LinkedIn post that has generated tens of thousands of interactions, Braden Wallake — the CEO of startup HyperSocial — said that he made an unspecified decision in February of this year and “stuck with that decision for far too long,” ultimately resulting in the need to let go “a few of our employees.”

“This will be the most vulnerable thing I’ll ever share. I’ve gone back and forth whether to post this or not,” Wallake 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. Bear? My fault.”

Beyond the mention of the layoffs, Wallake continued groveling before posting a picture of himself with red eyes and tears streaming down his face.

“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. Every single one. Every single story,” he said. “Every single thing that makes them smile and every single thing that makes them cry. Their families. Their friends. Their hobbies. I’ve always hired people based on who they are as people. People with great hearts, and great souls. And I can’t think of a lower moment than this.”

Users had mixed feelings, with some applauding Wallake’s willingness to be “vulnerable”” and others raising an eyebrow at the highly emotional post.

“I was completely unready and amazed by this level of hyper-vulnerability on full display alongside a heartfelt message,” one user said. “In my Southern American culture, the mere sight of a man crying seems cliche, mushy, and overtly sentimental… But what does it say about American culture that a man who openly cares deeply for others is automatically assumed to be weak-kneed and powerless or utterly fake?”

“Sigh… all of us have grown up here. No one expects to always be protected from layoffs and no one expects leadership to make the right decisions all of the time,” another user commented. “Great that you want to own up to your mistakes but that’s between you and your team. Your personal sadness and attempt to convince strangers that you ‘love’ your employees is useless to the people you fired. They get that it’s part of navigating a career.”

In a follow-up comment, Wallake shared a bizarre post from Noah Smith — one of the employees he laid off — praising the executive for “putting his heart on the line” and having a “positive outlook on life.” Wallake garnered even more ire for sharing the praise.

“Absolute peak LinkedIn,” a third commenter said. “Not only do you fire the guy and use his loss for some clout chasing, you then invite him back for a chat because the validation from the first act wasn’t enough.”

At the end of last year, Better.com CEO Vishal Garg was the subject of criticism for firing more than 900 employees via Zoom mere weeks before Christmas — as well as working to ensure that the employees only receive one week of severance pay.

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