'Tone deaf': US CEO cops flak for posting crying selfie after firing employees

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA, Aug 11 — An American business owner is facing ire on LinkedIn for posting a selfie of himself crying over firing his employees.

Braden Wallake, the chief executive officer (CEO) of digital marketing company Hypersocial, made the emotional LinkedIn post to show that “not every CEO out there is cold-hearted”.

“This will be the most vulnerable thing I’ll ever share,” Wallake wrote in his post on Tuesday (Aug 9), which was accompanied by a tearful picture of himself.

“Days like today, I wish I was a business owner that was only money driven and didn’t care about who he hurt along the way.”

He added that the firings were due to bad business decisions he made, and hoped his former employees knew that he “loved them”.

Wallake’s post has garnered over 31,000 likes and 6,000 comments so far, which were overwhelmingly negative.

“This does come across as tone-deaf, self-indulgent and a tad inauthentic,” said one user, while another quipped: “The empathy you show for the peasants is admirable.”

Another commenter called Wallake’s selfie a “next-level manipulation tactic” and compared it to “abusive parents who want their children to pity them for the abuse they committed.”

Some users were more sympathetic, praising Wallake for showing “vulnerability”, and that he should not be “cancelled” for making one mistake.

As per its website, Hypersocial offers business-to-business marketing services, and also specialises in “LinkedIn profile optimisation”.

Responding to comments on his post, Wallake said that he had reduced his own pay from US$250 (RM1,100) to zero prior to the layoffs.

According to Bloomberg, the company currently has 15 employees after two were fired.

Wallake told Motherboard that he had performed one layoff, while his “girlfriend slash business partner” laid off the other employee.

“I was just sitting here at my desk, just kind of crying, I guess, and decided to make the post because I have seen a lot on LinkedIn recently of how awful business owners and CEOs are for laying off their employees and that they’re laying off employees while they’re getting their third house in the Bahamas or wherever,” Wallake said.

On Wednesday (Aug 10), Wallake made an update apologising for his previous post, saying it wasn’t his intent to “make it about me or victimise myself”.

“What I want to do now, is try to make better of this situation and start a thread for people looking for work,” he wrote in his update.

“This is for YOU to start a new future. To highlight YOU.”