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CEO Apologizes After Pep Talk Urging Employees To 'Leave Pity City' Went Viral–And People Are Not Impressed

After serious blowback from Owen's 'Leave Pity City' comments to workers about the lack of bonuses this year, despite getting one herself, the CEO apologized for her 'insensitive' comments in a recent town hall.

Screenshot of Andi Owen from viral video
@conzmoleman/Twitter

Last week a video of MillerKnoll CEO Andi Owen giving a "pep talk" to employees went viral after she told them to "leave pity city" in response to their fear of not getting their bonus for the year.

Owen said in the video:

“Don’t ask about ‘What are we going to do if we don’t get a bonus?’ Get the damn $26 million. Spend your time and your effort thinking about the $26 million we need, and not thinking about what you’re going to do if you don’t get a bonus, all right?” ...
“I had an old boss who said to me one time ‘You can visit Pity City, but ya can’t live there,’ so people—leave Pity City.”

You can watch the video below.

Owen herself received $3.9 million in incentives last year, not including her $1.1 million salary.

Needless to say, this sparked some outrage on social media.


In the wake of her controversial video and subsequent hefty criticism, Owen, who took over the furniture company in 2018, emailed an apology to her employees.

According to Michigan news site mlive.com, the email stated:

"I want to be transparent and empathetic, and as I continue to reflect on this instance, I feel terrible that my rallying cry seemed insensitive."
"What I'd hoped would energize the team to meet a challenge we've met many times before landed in a way that I did not intend and for that I am sorry."

The apology continued:

"Nothing will lessen the power and strength of our collective team. My appreciation for each of you is huge and I will continue to do everything I can to help us meet our shared goals."
"Thank you for your hard work, your grace, and for the commitment you show to one another and our company every single day."

People took to social media to express their thoughts on the apology, most claiming it did not seem sincere and that Owen is likely only "sorry" she was called out.









Of course, many also wanted to know if the bonus for her employees was reinstated.



Owen finished her email:

"Nothing will lessen the power and strength of our collective team."
"My appreciation for each of you is huge and I will continue to do everything I can to help us meet our shared goals."
"Thank you for your hard work, your grace, and for the commitment you show to one another and our company every single day."
"-Andi"

Whether this will mend fences within the company better than it did with the public remains to be seen.