Clearlink CEO under fire for praising worker who sold dog to return to office

A Utah tech CEO is dealing with backlash after a clip of him questioning the capabilities of working moms and praising an worker for eliminating her pet to fulfill a brand new in-office mandate went viral.

In a nine-minute video, James Clarke, CEO of Salt Lake Metropolis-based digital advertising agency Clearlink, was seen telling staff throughout a City Corridor occasion that workers wanted to provide their “blood, sweat and tears” throughout working hours.

Nonetheless, he alleged that lots of the firm’s distant employees weren’t “working arduous in any respect,” claiming some had “quietly stop however are taking a paycheck,” others have been probably working a number of jobs directly, and a few have been even utilizing A.I. to fulfil their duties.

“I may try this in half-hour of an eight-hour workday,” he mentioned. “So, what do we have to do? Let’s put out 30 to 50 occasions our regular manufacturing, or considerably extra of our manufacturing. We don’t want excellent, we simply want good.

“We simply want you to point out up and provides an trustworthy day’s arduous work, blood sweat and tears, [then] you go residence to your households and revel in what’s actually vital.”

“Issues that don’t develop are on a path to die,” he added.

Clarke went on to recommend he labored more durable than any of his staff.

“I problem any considered one of you to outwork me, however you received’t,” he insisted. “I’m all in in what we’re doing right here at Clearlink, and I need you to comprehend it and really feel it. I’ve sacrificed, and people of you which can be right here have sacrificed significantly to be right here as effectively to be away from your loved ones.”

Earlier this month, Clarke reportedly despatched out a workers memo that mentioned staff who lived inside 50 miles of headquarters should begin working from the workplace 4 days per week, ranging from April 17.

Within the video clip from the City Corridor, seen by Fortune, Clarke praised an unnamed working mother who offered her household canine in order that she may adjust to the return-to-office mandate.

“One in all our leaders, within the midst of listening to this message, went out and offered their household canine, which breaks my coronary heart,” he mentioned. “However really, these are the sacrifices which can be being made, and I honor you for these sacrifices.”

One other working mom—a vp on the firm—additionally obtained reward from Clarke within the clip for opting to chop right down to part-time hours so as to steadiness work and childcare, with the CEO expressing skepticism over anybody’s capability to do each to a excessive commonplace.

“Breadwinning moms have been hit the toughest by this pandemic,” he mentioned.

“A lot of you will have tried to are likely to your individual youngsters and in addition handle your demanding work schedules and tasks. And whereas I do know you’re doing all of your greatest—some would say they’ve even mastered this artwork—one may additionally argue that typically, this path is neither honest to your employer nor honest to these youngsters.”

Clarke caveated this with a declare they he didn’t “essentially imagine that,” however he argued that “solely the rarest of full-time caregivers may also be productive full-time staff on the similar time.”

“[This is] not a criticism of the noble nature of motherhood nor the flexibility to do each effectively. It’s not,” he insisted.

“However there are solely so many waking hours in every day, and it’s this worth for worth change that’s not often optimized. It may be completed, however it provides a lot stress to a working mom’s life that I’d by no means wish to put that on anybody.”

The clip of Clarke’s impassioned speech didn’t land effectively with social media customers.

“Pay your staff what you make—hell, one quarter of what you make—and they are going to be all in too,” one Reddit consumer commented.

“I really feel like leaders want to begin hiring speechwriters in order that they know who their viewers is,” one other advised.

“So, fathers haven’t any obligation to assist elevate their youngsters?” one questioned in one other of the close to 500 feedback posted under the video.

A spokesperson for Clearlink advised Fortune when requested in regards to the response to the clip: “To assist obtain our collective targets, Clearlink lately introduced a return to workplace of 4 days per week for almost all of our Utah-based staff. We stay up for having these workforce members be a part of us at our new world-class International Headquarters in Draper, Utah and recognize the efforts of all of our dedicated workforce members—which incorporates those that work in workplace and those that will proceed to work remotely—as we accomplish our greatest work collectively.”

Clarke isn’t the one CEO to come back below hearth in latest weeks due to a viral video.

Earlier this week, MillerKnoll CEO Andi Owen woke as much as an onslaught of backlash, after an outburst during which she advised workers who have been nervous about their bonuses to “depart Pity Metropolis” was caught on tape and shared on-line.