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CEO Posts Crying Selfie After 'Tough' Layoffs, Then Someone Points Out What He Posted Two Months Ago

  Braden Wallake, the lachrymose CEO of marketing service firm HyperSocial, became an instant internet meme earlier this week when he posted...

 Braden Wallake, the lachrymose CEO of marketing service firm HyperSocial, became an instant internet meme earlier this week when he posted a picture of himself crying on LinkedIn to announce layoffs at his company.

The reaction to the pitiful, rambling social media post was predictably swift and brutal. However, while the rest of social media was dunking on Wallake for his callousness and performativity, one brave soul brought up a question about the debacle I never knew I wanted — nay, needed — to know the answer to.

Namely: If the company was in dire financial straits that would end in people losing their livelihoods, why was he adopting a sea otter just a few months prior?

But hold up. Let’s go back to the beginning, which is always a good place to start. Wallake began his post with this “cringeworthy” selfie.


“This will be the most vulnerable thing I’ll ever share,” he began, according to the New York Post. “I’ve gone back and forth whether to post this or not. We just had to layoff a few of our employees.”

Wallake, to his (very minimal) credit, agreed the dismissals were “my fault” because he made a bad decision 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 [sic] us into it,” he continued. “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,” Wallake added.

“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 continued. “But I’m not. I’m sure there are hundreds and thousands of others like me.”

Look, it’s not that I’m saying every business owner in America should dispose of their employees with the froideur of former General Motors CEO Roger Smith, who would lay off wide swaths of the GM rank-and-file during the 1980s and then sleep soundly with no sedative or drought stronger than chamomile tea.

But come on: “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,” Wallake said.

“Every single one. Every single story. Every single thing that makes them smile and every single thing that makes them cry,” he continued. “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,” Wallake wrote.

Come to think of it, imagine if this guy were head of GM when an enterprising young (but still plenty corpulent) guerrilla filmmaker Michael Moore was busy smearing GM’s Roger Smith in the documentary “Roger & Me” — the film that, regrettably, launched Moore’s career.

One can only imagine long shots of Wallake crying on the shoulder of Moore’s unwashed parka, promising to turn the whole thing into a worker’s collective. Alas, autres temps, autres mœurs.

But then, there was the adoption of the sea otter from the World Wildlife Foundation — which is fiscal support of the otter, not actually entailing the otter living in his house — in June.

“Maybe it’s not a great idea to adopt a sea lion [sic] at the beginning of a recession?” said the user who posted the screenshot of the Instagram post confirming the adoption.

Wallake lashed out, saying it was a “donation made on my behalf as a birthday present to me” and that he didn’t “actually have a sea otter running around our van.”

This also didn’t go over well.

“[A]re you being serious here?!” they wrote. “Perhaps you think all publicity is good publicity.”

It definitely isn’t, even if you’re crying while you’re doing it. Maybe especially if you’re crying when you’re doing it.

By Saturday morning, the original post did not appear to be available on the company’s LinkedIn page any longer. As of Wednesday, however, it had managed 28,500 reactions, with almost 5,000 comments on the platform — almost all of it negative, according to the Post.

“Why don’t you cut your salary or don’t take one until the company is back where you need it to be?” one poster said. “I mean, if you really cared about your employees and the hardship you just dropped on them.”

Also, if you know how dire things are, perhaps you can convince your friends that a donation to the WWF to adopt an animal — no matter how cute — isn’t the best use of scarce resources in the immediate.

Mention this to Wallake, however, and I’m guessing he’d angrily tell you to get otter here.

(Sorry, not sorry.)

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