Woman Goes Viral After Recording Her Disastrous Layoff Call With HR: 'They Tried to Gaslight You' Brittany Pietsch posted a nine-minute-long clip of her layoff from Cloudflare on TikTok, and it went viral. The company's CEO responded on X — and also went viral.

By Emily Rella

Key Takeaways

  • Brittany Pietsch was let go from Cloudflare on January 12 and posted the call on TikTok.
  • The video has been viewed over 1.37 million times on TikTok.
  • Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince responded on X — and received 4.1 million views.

A TikToker is going viral after secretly recording herself getting remotely laid off from computer and network security company, Cloudflare.

Brittany Pietsch recorded the nine-minute-long clip on January 12 after about four months with the company and said she knew that the layoff was most likely coming, which prompted her to start recording.

But instead of gracefully accepting her fate, Pietsch was ready to fight back.

@brittanypeachhh Original creator reposting: brittany peach cloudflare layoff. When you know you're about to get laid off so you film it :) this was traumatizing honestly lmao #cloudflare #techlayoffs #tech #layoff ♬ original sound - Brittany Pietsch

"I got let go by two people I didn't know: a woman from HR and a director man I've never heard of," Pietsch wrote. "I wanted to stand up for myself because what did I have to lose?"

The HR team explained that her performance was not up to par and that many people were being let go, including her. But Pietsch told the people on the call (an HR rep and a director) that she had the "highest activity" amongst her team and that "things have been going really, really well" for her. She then questioned why her manager, or someone she had at least met, was not on the call.

Related: Barbara Corcoran Shares What to Do If You've Been Laid Off

"I disagree that I haven't met performance expectations. I really need an answer and an explanation as to why Brittany Pietsch is getting let go, not why Cloudflare decided to hire too many people then are now actually realizing that they can't afford this many people and they're letting them go," she said bluntly — and in the third person.

Pietsch continued to push back and ask for direct answers about why she was really being let go, but HR didn't budge.

"I'll be honest with you, there's nothing that we're going to say in this call and the time that we have, that's going to undo the way that you feel right in this moment," the unidentified person said. "I personally, I will do everything that I can to give you as much specific information as I can, after this call, I can't make any promises."

Still, Pietsch asked for answers, to no avail.

"Despite constant positive praise from my manager, great meetings that I'm having, the amount of activity that I have has all been positive, I have not received any negative inclination, I have not been put on a performance improvement plan," she said in frustration. "It just doesn't make any sense that you guys have still not been able to give me a reason why I'm being let go."

Pietsch's video garnered mixed reviews from commenters, with many praising her for asking for justice and explanation when most are afraid to speak up.

"You handled this so well," one person wrote. "They tried to gaslight you into it being based on your performance and not their company issues."

Related: How Do Companies Decide Who to Lay Off?

"Good for you speaking up and being so composed with such little time to prepare," another said.

Others were not as impressed with Pietsch's attitude.

"The company just didn't make money and if it's sales you just didn't make enough money to justify them keeping [you]. It's business," one person wrote.

"The points she made were valid, but it's a bad career move to post this online," another said.

The now-viral video, which has been viewed over 1.37 million times on TikTok, prompted a response from Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, who wrote on social media platform X that the company laid off roughly 40 out of 1,500 workers in Pietsch's round.

He also noted that the company doesn't always "hire perfectly," and said that the company can usually tell within three months of a hire whether or not the employee is going to be successful or not.

"The video is painful for me to watch. Managers should always be involved," Prince wrote. "Any healthy org needs to get the people who aren't performing off. That wasn't the mistake here. The mistake was not being more kind and humane as we did."

Cloudflare was up over 69% year over year as of Tuesday afternoon.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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