San Antonio clothing company, Grunt Style, balks at founder’s ouster claims

Grunt Style, the military-themed clothing company based in San Antonio, is denying claims by its founder and former CEO that the company set him adrift without compensation or medical coverage.

Earlier this week, Daniel Alarik, who started Grunt Style in 2009, raised more than $62,000 in less than 12 hours on Gofundme — a crowdfunding website — after posting that the company left him unable to cover medical costs for his family.

In response, hundreds of people angrily responded on Grunt Style’s social media platforms, blasting the retailer for firing Alarik. Some called for a boycott.

On Wendesday, the brand — which does most of its business online and through wholesale channels — released a statement with a timeline countering Alarik’s claims in his Gofundme post.

He said the company fired him without explanation.

On Founder of San Antonio’s Grunt Style, military-themed clothing brand, says he was ousted

In their statement, company officials said Alarik “was actively pursuing other projects unrelated to Grunt Style” from February to August. “Additionally, Daniel’s participation and attitude towards many in the company deteriorated, creating a hostile environment for our team members.”

Alarik did not respond to a request for comment.

The officials said they notified him in August that they were terminating his employment contract on Aug. 31, and that on that day “Daniel emailed a 59-page manifesto to the entire company, undermining the leadership team.”

Alarik, whose wife is undergoing cancer treatment, also claimed that the company left him uninsured.

Grunt Style released an email to Alarik that said the company “is willing to pay for your health insurance for an indefinite period of time — i.e. until our discussions conclude one way or the other.”

While the majority of donations Alarik received via Gofundme rang in at $100 or less, he did receive several high-dollar amounts, including $20,000 from Shawn Wylde, an entrepreneur with stakes in several clothing companies, and $10,000 from an anonymous donor.

Alarik wrote that an outside partner came into the business “unexpectedly in 2019” and forced his removal and loss of control over the company. For their part, Grunt Style officials said the company was in a “financial crisis” when it made a deal with investors in June 2019 that allowed the company to continue operations.

“Daniel stepped down as CEO but still remained as a lead executive of the company,” the statement said. “Daniel assumed the role of Chairman of the Board where he continued to have a voice in the company’s overall direction.”

During a company podcast Tuesday, Chief Strategy Officer Tim Jensen said, “During the CEO search, Daniel Alarik was very involved in it, and actually interviewed Glenn Silbert and was part of the hiring process.”

Silbert became CEO in February after stints at various apparel companies, including Under Armour.

More than 1,500 people commented on the company’s original response to Alarik’s claims posted on Facebook Monday. The company later took that post down citing privacy concerns.

“While not wanting to disparage Daniel or his family, we cannot allow any more half-truths to be told,” the company said. “As well, these tactics put the livelihoods of nearly 300 employees and their families in jeopardy. This behavior and threat of boycott that has ensued has put strategic relationships intended to benefit many thousands of Veterans at risk.”

An official with the company said that it’s too early to tell if the social media fallout has hurt sales. The company has a retail store in its headquarters on the 900 block of Broadway and is expected to announce plans to expand in the San Antonio area later this year.

Recently, the company has partnered with Burn Pits 360, a group fighting for legislation to ensure veterans exposed to toxins from burn pits overseas get proper care. The company official said the Alarik situation has distracted from efforts to help the community the company is aligned with.

Brandon Lingle writes for the Express-News through Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms. To read more from Brandon, become a subscriber. [email protected] | Twitter: @Brandlingle

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