TODAY   |  February 10, 2014

Mom accepts AOL CEO’s 'heartfelt' apology

AOL’s Tim Armstrong apologized for citing costs associated with two employees’ sick infants as part of the reason for cutting retirement benefits. He reversed his decision over the weekend and called Deanna Fei, a mom of one of the infants, who tells TODAY, “I do forgive him.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> she accepts tim armstrong 's apology. but for her, doesn't change the fact that the little girl who has already been through so much is now at the center of all of this.

>> reporter: just over a year ago, deanna fay almost lost her newborn daughter.

>> it was a traumatic experience for us. i, to this day, some of my close friends didn't know the whole story.

>> born almost four months premature, little mila is one of the so-called distressed baby. a term used by tim armstrong while explaining a trim to the company's retirement package. armstrong told staffers care for the two distressed babies recently cost the company about $1 million each.

>> there did sound like the implication that somehow we were greedy consumers of health care benefits. that we had kind of gobbled up more than our fair share of the pie.

>> her husband works for aol.

>> it did feel like a violation of my family's privacy. and it also felt like a complete dehumanization of my daughter.

>> on the internet, outrage was instant. armstrong apologized telling staffers, i made a mistake. he quickly reversed the company's benefit change and called the family to personally apologize.

>> i don't think tim armstrong meant to hurt our family.

>> armstrong never identified the so-called distressed babies. but fay who came forward in an article for "slate" magazine said it was never about benefits, it was about defending her baby.

>> i felt like, you know, someone had to speak up for her. she can't tweet, she can't go on tv to defend herself. she can't justify the spending that saved her life. she didn't deserve to get singled out in this way.

>> now, aol tells me armstrong knows he made a mistake but was actually trying to point out examples of where the company goes above and beyond for employees. natalie?

>> all right, kristen dahlgren in new york. thanks so much.

>>> and this morning, savannah spoke exclusively about the policy she received from the head of aol.

>> i understand you've now spoken to aol's ceo tim armstrong . can you tell us anything about that conversation? and have you forgiven him? i know he has apologized.

>> yes, i spoke to him last night. i don't want to get too much into the exact words that he used. because i really feel like he spoke to me, you know, as a person to another person and not in his public role as a ceo. he spoke to me in a heartfelt way as a father of three kids to a fellow parent. his apology was heartfelt. and i appreciated it. and i do forgive him. and i understand that we all sometimes say things that we wish we could take back.

>> again, that was deanna speaking