Ying Liu, founder and CEO of baby clothing company Kyte Baby, has issued two apologies following backlash for denying staffer Marissa Hughes’ request to work remotely because her baby was admitted into a neonatal intensive care unit.

What happened?

A woman identifying herself as Hughes’ sister posted a video on TikTok last week explaining that Hughes was fired from her job at Kyte Baby after requesting to work remotely. Hughes took to GoFundMe to ask for crowdsourced funds to meet NICU costs as well as adoption and legal fees after she and her partner adopted a baby boy with “various health concerns.”

This led to backlash against Kyte Baby on social media.

How did the company respond?

Liu decided to put herself front and center for the company’s response.

In a one-and-a-half minute video posted to Kyte Baby’s TikTok page on Friday, Liu noted that Kyte Baby is  “a family oriented company,” adding that her “utmost respect” for babies, families and the adoption community was not communicated to Hughes.

“It was my oversight that she didn’t feel supported as we always have intended,” Liu said. 

She explained that Kyte Baby will find Hughes a position whenever she decides to return to work, apologized to the Kyte Baby community and said that the company is reviewing its human resources policies and procedures to avoid something like this happening again.


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The video did not fly with social media users, some of whom said that Kyte Baby should be canceled. One said, “I love the sincerity of an apology that’s being read from a piece of paper.”

A few hours later, Liu posted a second four-minute video to Kyte Baby’s TikTok page, saying the critical comments were correct, the apology video had been scripted and “wasn’t sincere.”

In her second video, Liu said she was going “off-script” to tell everyone what happened, stating that she made a “terrible decision” with the way she treated Hughes.  

She said she knows people will say she is “saving face” and “saving the company” after backlash ensued, but she wanted to make things right and apologize to Hughes. Liu also said the company will continue to pay Hughes as if she is a remote worker, as she originally requested.


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In a video response on Facebook, Hughes said, “While we dont think it would be appropriate for me to go back, we are really encouraged to hear there will be some changes made for current and future employees at the company.”

What else is Kyte Baby communicating?

Kyte Baby did not respond to PRWeek’s request for comment. However, the company told CNN that Hughes worked with the company for about seven months, and that she was offered the standard package of two weeks of maternity time.

Employees are also required to sign a contract stating that they will return to their job for a minimum of six months after their paid leave was complete, but given her son’s situation, Hughes was unable to sign the six-month contract, the company told CNN. 

“She did propose a remote option for her job, but given that her role was largely on-site, at that time, we did not feel that the proposed plan would fulfill the responsibilities of her current position,” Kyte Baby said. “We told her we understood her situation and informed her that her job would be here if and when she opted to return.”

What are PR pros saying about Kyte Baby’s response to this incident?

This article originally appeared on PRWeek US.