Alison Ettel has resigned as CEO of cannabis company TreatWell Health after a video went viral that showed her appearing to call the police on a young girl and her mother who were selling bottled water on the street. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the resulting backlash ultimately resulted in Ettel — who was dubbed “Permit Patty” by the online community — resigning from her position as the company’s head executive.
“It is Ms. Ettel’s belief that TreatWell, its employees and patients should not have to suffer because of a situation that occurred in an escalated moment.” — Treatwell spokesperson Cynthia Gonzalez, in a statement
TreatWell Health specializes in medical cannabis tinctures designed for both people and pets. Several dispensaries throughout San Francisco have responded to the incident, however, saying they will no longer carry TreatWell products.
The incident was recorded on Saturday and posted to Instagram. The video shows Ettel on her phone, where she appears to be reporting 8-year-old Jordan Rodgers — who is Black — to the police for selling bottled water without a permit. Jordan’s mother, Erin Austin, filmed Ettel while she made the call.
“She calling police on a 8-year-old little girl. You can hide all you want. The world gon’ see you, boo,” Austin says in the video.
Ettel responds while on the phone and looking into Austin’s camera, “Yeah, um, illegally selling water without a permit, yeah.”
Later, Austin said that her daughter had been selling water to raise money for a Disneyland trip.
“Recently, I lost my job, and we were planning a trip Disneyland before that happened, and so it kind of sidelined us a little bit. My daughter just wanted to help.” — Erin Austin, via CBS This Morning
Ettel has said that she acted because the mother and daughter had been screaming for hours on the sidewalk, but now feels “horrible and heart-wrenched.” She said that the call was not racially motivated and that she only “pretended” to call the police.
“I completely regret that I handled that so poorly. It was completely stress-related, and I should have never confronted her. That was a mistake, a complete mistake.” — Alison Ettel, via the Huffington Post
However, Austin said that she and her daughter were not screaming and had only been on the sidewalk for some 15 minutes.
Musician Jonathan Brannon saw the confrontation and sent four Disneyland tickets to Austin for her daughter and other family members. Since the incident, Austin has also started a Go Fund Me page seeking $75,000 that she says will go towards education and benefiting the lives of her children.