LinkedIn CEO: who is Braden Wallake, why did he post crying selfie, what did he say in post, and reaction

The HyperSocial founder and CEO said that the purpose of his post ‘was not to make it about me or victimise myself’

A CEO has been criticised for a post that’s gone viral on LinkedIn in which he stated that “not every CEO out there is cold-hearted and doesn’t care when he/she have to lay people off” in a post about letting go of an unspecified number of employees which also featured a crying selfie.

This is everything you need to know about the “Crying CEO” on LinkedIn.

Who is the ‘Crying CEO’ - what did he post on LinkedIn?

Braden Wallake is the man behind the viral post on LinkedIn.

Based in Ohio in the United States, Wallake is the CEO and founder of HyperSocial, a marketing company that helps B2B (business-to-business) companies increase their brand awareness and develop sales campaigns.

Wallake gained the label of the “crying CEO” following a post he made on LinkedIn about having to let go of a few of his employees.

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Wallake wrote that the post would be ‘the most vulnerable thing’ he would ever share (Photo: LinkedIn/Braden Wallake)

He wrote: “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.

“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.

“We’ve always been a people first business. And we always will be. 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. But I’m not.

“So, I just want people to see, that not every CEO out there is cold-hearted and doesn’t care when he/she have to lay people off. I’m sure there are hundreds and thousands of others like me. The ones you don’t see talked about. Because they didn’t lay off 50 or 500 or 5000 employees.

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The LinkedIn post has gone viral online (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

“They laid off 1 or 2 or 3. 1 or 2 or 3 that would still be here if better decisions had been made.

“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. 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.”

Attached to the post is also a picture of a crying Wallake.

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What has the response been like?

Responses in the post on LinkedIn have been mixed, with some commending Wallake for his vulnerability - however, comments have called out the CEO handling things all wrong.

One person wrote: “When I see this post - I see a guy who is literally just trying his best. If you’ve ever had to lay someone off it really sucks. This guy cares about his employees - he decided to process some of this online. Could he have tagged the employees and said how great they were - sure, but did he expect this post to blow up like this? Probably not.”

Another person said: “What’s funny is I don’t see an apology here even though you said that it’s your fault. This post is very insensitive in my opinion because while it is a very difficult thing to lay someone off, it is exceedingly more difficult to be the person who is laid off.

“Be vulnerable, be authentic, but also please think about the audience when you post something like this. If my boss had posted a picture of themselves crying about having to lay me off with zero apologies I would be pissed. No, I would be utterly livid.”

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Another commented: “Yikes. I was just laid off - along with many others. If my CEO sent this I’d probably lose my mind. You’re crying? I’m crying. We’re crying. You still have your job. Imagine if we all posted pictures of US crying? We’d never get hired, because we are forced to be RESILIENT in our industries. Put those tears in a jar and make a potion to help the peoples lives you laid off better.”

The post has sparked significant backlash against Wallake (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Users on Twitter have also been much more critical of Wallake for the post.

One person tweeted: “I’m actually cheesed. There’s a CEO on LinkedIn going viral because he fired 30% of his staff and posted a picture of him crying.

“Does Emotional Intelligence just not exist after a certain level?”

“I just had an argument with a CEO who posted a selfie of himself crying on LinkedIn because he laid off employees. That’s like a landlord crying on Instagram for evicting tenants. If I got laid off and I saw the CEO of my company crying about it on social media, I’d lose it,” wrote another.

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Another person asked: “My question is how many crying selfie pics did that CEO take before he picked one to post?”

“Braden Wallake (the crying LinkedIn CEO) has to be doing a bit, right? There’s no way someone could truly be lacking in self awareness. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but taking to public spaces to farm sympathy after firing your people is a POS move. Full stop,” tweeted another user.

What has he said about the post?

In a follow up post on LinkedIn, Wallake wrote: “Hey everyone, yes, I am the crying CEO. No, my intent was not to make it about me or victimise myself. I am sorry it came across that way.

“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.

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“Here it is - comment away. This is for YOU to start a new future. To highlight YOU.

“People seeking new work: Post your resume, desired job title, qualifications.

“Employers: here’s an opportunity to hire amazing people.”

Wallake made a followup post, however it has attracted just as much negative attention (Photo: LinkedIn/Braden Wallake)

Wallake’s followup post has also gotten negative feedback from LinkedIn users, with many calling him out for making the situation worse.

One person wrote: “Why have one viral post when you can get two for the same price? Braden was never and is still not in this for anyone but himself.”

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Another commented: “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. Instead 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.”

“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,” wrote another.