Best of 2022: CEOs don’t cry? Man apologises for ‘playing the victim’

Braden Wallake has been dubbed the crying CEO by the internet. Picture: LinkedIn

Braden Wallake has been dubbed the crying CEO by the internet. Picture: LinkedIn

Published Dec 27, 2022


In a post that shocked the world, Braden Wallake, the chief executive of HyperSocial, shared a selfie of himself crying on LinkedIn after he had to axe some of his workers.

The viral picture garnered both sympathy and criticism. Wallake has now changed, thanks to the responses he got on the job portal as well as social media.

“This will be the most vulnerable thing I’ll ever share. We just had to lay off a few of our employees … Days like today, I wish I was a business owner that was only money-driven and did not care about who he hurt along the way,” he wrote in his original post.

LinkedIn users did not hold back their opinions of Wallake, with over 10 000 comments on his post. One user accused him of using the axing of his employees as a publicity stunt.

“Braden, you are not equipped to be a CEO. You are a narcissistic, emotionally immature quat. Hey, why not deflect your inability to take tough decisions and assuage your guilt by making it all about YOU!

“The only thing to make your ex staff feel better now is more pictures of your despair, a live feed of you agonising about it, poetry written about your darkest moments and you bringing out a new perfume line with real essence of your tears called Essence of Ego,” one LinkedIn user commented.

However, others saw the post as positive in that it showed a man being vulnerable on a public platform while society teaches men to be tough and push down any sign that may be perceived as weakness, including crying.

“You're not weak for showing vulnerability. You are strong. I think the people who take issue with your post are actually the ones who are not happy with being vulnerable themselves, so your post made them feel uncomfortable … I say to those people to get over themselves and leave you well alone,” said a business associate.

After his selfie and message nearly broke the internet, Wallake apologised on LinkedIn to those he had offended with the post.

“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,” he wrote.

He said going forward he wants to help people who are seeking employment and asked job seekers to respond with their CV’s, desired job titles and qualifications.

IOL Business