“Crying CEO” doubles down on controversial LinkedIn selfie

The marketing boss, who was shredded online for posting a selfie of himself crying after firing employees, is doubling down on the much-mocked move.

Braden Wallake, the CEO of Columbus, Ohio-based marketing services company HyperSocial, claimed his emotional post resonated with other business leaders, despite countless LinkedIn users accusing him of losing touch and trying to portray himself as a victim of the cuts .

“The reason [I haven’t deleted it] is because I get tons of messages from other business owners saying, ‘Love that, been there, worst feeling, right there with you,'” Wallake told PR Week. “There’s a lot of good that has come out of this post, but I’m trying not to sit and read the negative 0.”

Wallake sparked anger among LinkedIn users for his original bubbling LinkedIn post, which he described as “the most vulnerable thing I’ll ever share.” He wrote that he was forced to cut staff due to his own bad business decision.

“Days like today, I wish I was a business owner that’s just money driven and doesn’t care who I hurt in the process. But I’m not,” Wallake wrote alongside the photo, which had tears streaming down his face.

“So I want people to see that not every CEO out there is cold-hearted and doesn’t care if he/she has to fire people,” he added.

Braden Wallake
HyperSocial’s CEO released the news after firing two employees.

The original LinkedIn post has received more than 35,000 reactions, nearly 7,500 comments and nearly 700 shares since it first went live earlier this week.

Wallake later apologized for how his post was perceived – although he told PR Week he wasn’t sorry for posting the message himself.

“Hey everyone, yes I’m the crying CEO. No, my intention was not to do it for me or to bully myself. I’m sorry it came off that way,” he said. “It was not my place to publicly name the employees.”

Braden Wallake
Braden Wallake said he doesn’t regret his original post, just the way it was received.

Wallake said he fired two employees at HyperSocial, which has 15 employees remaining. He also defended his own actions at the company, noting that he had not received a salary for the first 18 months of its existence and is now receiving a $250-a-week paycheck.

“People have no idea what actually happened, what actions we took, what conversations we had with these employees,” Wallake told the outlet.

Wallake’s post started a trend on LinkedIn with users sharing photos of themselves crying and bad news.

A LinkedIn user named Drew M. posted his own crying selfie, for which he apologized "Taco Tuesday."
A LinkedIn user named Drew M. posted his own crying selfie apologizing for “Taco Tuesday.”
LinkedIn / Drew M

A user named Drew M. posted his own crying selfie while expressing regret over “Taco Tuesday,” saying it was “a bad choice.”

LinkedIn user David Rolls hilariously uploaded a viral post by HyperSocial CEO Braden Wallake.
LinkedIn user David Rolls hilariously uploaded a viral post by HyperSocial CEO Braden Wallake.
LinkedIn / David Rolling

David Rolls, a London-based podcaster, mocked Wallake’s post by sharing his own over-the-top, baby-crying selfie – and joked that he had to commandeer his employee’s team’s sales commission to pay for an all-inclusive trip to Thailand.

“I’ve never been to Thailand and I really want to go so what should I do?” Rolle wrote. “Go anywhere cheaper? A 4 star resort? Of course not.” “Crying CEO” doubles down on controversial LinkedIn selfie


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