An accidental email from the VP of a Michigan boutique is not only considered unprofessional but possibly illegal.

Ava Lane Boutique is based out of Auburn Hills, Michigan.  It touts a message of female empowerment with the motto "beauty through confidence."  That's one reason why a video uploaded to TikTok by a young woman named Gracie went so viral, so fast.

After Gracie applied for a job with Ava Lane Boutique she received an email, clearly by mistake, from the company's V.P. of Operations, Chuck DeGrendel.  In that email he comments on the young woman's looks by saying that she's "not that cute."  He goes on to ask the question, "are you sure you want me to interview her?"  Gracie's mother Heather also shared a screenshot of the email on her twitter.


Around 10 A.M. Thursday morning Chuck publicly apologized on Ava Lane Boutique's Facebook live.  Chuck appeared to be nervous and emotional as he came clean about his unprofessional words in an email that he sent to Gracie by mistake.  Chuck's very uncomfortable moment was followed by his wife Laura, the creator and owner of Ava Lane.  Many people in the comments of the facebook live video where concerned that she was playing the victim as she accused Gracie of telling her followers to contact the DeGrendels which lead to them being threatened.  I cannot find any proof that Gracie or her mother Heather asked anyone to contact the DeGrendels.  However, they did both share a screenshot of the controversial email which contained contact info.  You can see the facebook live video from the Ava Lane Boutique Facebook page by clicking here.

The social media reaction has been swift.  One person called it the "TikTok Takedown."

Reese Margaret Jen Vedbraaten on facebook

Hannah Giles brings up an interesting question on Twitter about the legality of such a statement when reviewing applicants.

Hanna Giles on twitter

As I am writing this article, Chuck DeGrendel released the following statement:

In light of recent events and after deep personal reflection, I have decided to remove myself from the model hiring process at Ava Lane Boutique and all future hires for such positions at Ava Lane Boutique will be handled by our HR representative. I apologize again for what I said and to anyone I offended. - Chuck DeGrendel

This is either an opportunity for growth and a powerful learning moment, or irreversible damage to the brand.  The next step needs to be more about personal accountability and less about how their mistake is effecting their lives.

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