‘Pity City’ CEO Says She’s Sorry Now

As you may have heard in the news recently, the CEO for Michigan-based company MillerKnoll went viral for a wildly out-of-touch Zoom Town Hall meeting with employees. The meeting gained notoriety after being leaked to Twitter. People saw the CEO, Andi Owen, condescendingly explain how no employees will be getting bonuses this year, and they shouldn’t complain about it. You can read the details on that in our previous post on this.

After opening a meeting saying, “While things are tough right now, how can we help our teams stay motivated?” Owen responded by laying into the workers for complaining “about what you’re going to do if you don’t get a bonus” and to “leave pity city.”

Well, because of the massive backlash, MillerKnoll has walked back their previous statements, even though their initial response what total defiance, saying Owen would “not be dissuaded by a 90-second clip taken out of context.”

As of Tuesday, Owen has formally apologized via email:

Hi Everyone,

I’m sure you’ve seen the media coverage about the town hall meeting we hosted a few weeks ago. As I shared in my first note to you, it is my job to be open and direct, and to ensure that everyone has the information they need to row in the same direction and achieve the goals we all work so hard to accomplish.

As a leader, I try to always pick the right words and tone to inspire and motivate this incredible team. 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.

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.


As of now, bonuses for 2023 haven’t yet been decided.


Mike Primavera

Mike Primavera is a Chicago-based comedy writer even though he doesn't HAVE to work. He lives comfortably off of his family's pasta fortune. Follow him on all social media at @primawesome