A controversy surrounds North Texas-based baby clothing company, Kyte Baby, after it refused a work-from-home request for Marissa Hughes, who recently adopted a premature baby. CEO Ying Liu issued two apology videos on TikTok, acknowledging the mishandling of Hughes’ parental leave.
In the initial apology, Liu, facing criticism for being scripted, expressed regret for the insensitivity in denying remote work for Hughes, who had adopted a 22-week-old premature baby. Liu admitted her mistake and stated Hughes could return to the same job if she chooses.
The situation gained attention through a TikTok Live video shared by Hughes’ sister, revealing Kyte Baby’s offer of only two weeks of paid leave, contingent on a commitment to return for six months. A GoFundMe page for Hughes highlighted the baby’s need for hospital care until March.
A second apology from Liu came after allegations of insincerity, bringing more attention to the issue. Liu admitted to a “terrible mistake” and acknowledged the need for flexibility. The company vowed to review policies and HR procedures.
The fallout includes a customer boycott, social media criticism, and Hughes’ decision not to return to Kyte Baby. Despite Liu offering to pay her salary and approving her remote work request, Marissa declined. The incident sparks discussions about parental leave policies in the U.S., where such benefits are not guaranteed.
Marissa, focused on her newborn, expressed gratitude for community support, and a GoFundMe page aims to cover medical expenses, having already raised over $92,000. The incident prompts reflection on parental leave practices and employee support within corporate America.