Kyte Baby Controversy: Baby Faces Backlash for Firing Employee With NICU Baby

Kyte Baby, a Texas-based company that sells baby clothing made from bamboo, has been accused of mistreating an employee who had recently adopted a baby born at 22 weeks of gestation. The employee, Marissa Hughes, claims that she was fired after requesting to work remotely while staying with her baby at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The controversy

The controversy started when Hughes’ sister posted a TikTok video on January 18, 2024, alleging that Kyte Baby had denied Hughes’ remote work request and terminated her employment. The video went viral, attracting millions of views and comments from outraged viewers who criticized the company for being insensitive and hypocritical.

According to Hughes, she and her partner had adopted a baby boy named Judah, who was born after only 22 weeks of gestation and weighed barely over a pound. Judah had various health complications and required constant care at the NICU. Hughes, who had worked at Kyte Baby for over a year as a customer service representative, asked the company if she could work remotely and part-time while staying with her son at the hospital. She says that the company initially agreed, but later changed their mind and fired her.

Hughes told in an exclusive interview that she was willing to work from the NICU and that she felt betrayed by the company. “To me, honesty is so important, and some of the things they are saying on their end are just not truthful and makes me seem dishonest and that really bothers me,” she said.

The apology

Kyte Baby’s founder and CEO, Ying Liu, issued two apologies on TikTok, admitting that she had made a “terrible mistake” in how she handled Hughes’ situation. Liu said that she had not intended to fire Hughes, but rather to part ways with her if she could not return to the office after her maternity leave. She also said that she had offered Hughes to come back to work, but Hughes had declined.

Liu’s apologies, however, did not appease the public, who found them insincere and scripted. Many commenters pointed out the contradiction between Kyte Baby’s image as a family-oriented and mother-friendly brand and its actions towards Hughes. Some also questioned Liu’s credibility, noting that she had deleted negative comments and reviews from the company’s social media accounts.

The aftermath

The Kyte Baby controversy has sparked a boycott campaign against the company, with many customers vowing to stop buying its products and to support other ethical and sustainable brands. Some influencers and celebrities have also joined the boycott, expressing their solidarity with Hughes and their disappointment with Kyte Baby.

Hughes, meanwhile, has received an outpouring of support and donations from strangers who have learned about her story. She has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Judah’s medical expenses, as well as the adoption and legal fees. As of January 24, 2024, the page has raised over $200,000, surpassing its original goal of $150,000.

Hughes says that she is grateful for the generosity and kindness of the people who have helped her and her family. She also says that she is focused on her son’s recovery and well-being. “All that matters is my son. I spend most of the day staring in his little incubator … he has been my focus. Our biggest prayer is for him to be OK,” she says.


The Kyte Baby controversy has exposed the challenges and struggles that working parents, especially mothers, face in the workplace. It has also highlighted the need for more flexible and compassionate policies and practices that support employees’ work-life balance and family needs. Kyte Baby, as a company that claims to value families and mothers, has failed to live up to its own standards and has lost the trust and loyalty of many customers and fans. Whether it can redeem itself and restore its reputation remains to be seen.

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