Peloton ad sparks outrage, stock drop

Peloton bike ad sparks outrage, stock drop

Peloton, the maker of expensive in-home exercise equipment, faced backlash and a slight stock price drop after online criticism for the company’s latest holiday commercial boiled over earlier this week.

A woman opens her eyes as she receives a Peloton stationary bike as a Christmas present from her husband. The 30-second ad then highlights her documenting using the bike.

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“A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me,” she says.

The ad, which was released Nov. 21, did not raise eyebrows, or stoke ire in social media users, until December when it inspired parodies, criticism and comparisons to "Black Mirror."

After seeing a jump of 4.6% on Monday after the start of the holiday shopping season, Peloton stock fell 9% on Tuesday, CNBC reported. Stocks overall dropped by about 1%.

Peloton does not believe the ad has anything to do with the drop. The company stands by the commercial.

"We constantly hear from our members how their lives have been meaningfully and positively impacted after purchasing or being gifted a Peloton Bike or Tread, often in ways that surprise them," a company spokesperson told The New York Times. "Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey. While we're disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial, we are encouraged by — and grateful for — the outpouring of support we've received from those who understand what we were trying to communicate."

However, the online outrage boiled over to the point that Sean Hunter, the “Peloton husband” from the ad, spoke out.

Hunter is an actor and elementary school teacher in Vancouver, Psychology Today reported.

"My 5 seconds of air time created an array of malicious feedback that is all associated with my face. My friend texted me today declaring that I'm 'a symbol of the patriarchy.' As my face continues to be screen shot online, I wonder what repercussions will come back to me," Hunter told Psychology Today. "As I continue to reflect on the commercial, I consider these thoughts: Why are people creating so many additional narratives to the story? Am I allowed to view the commercial positively after receiving such negative feedback? If recognized on the street, what will people's first opinions be of me? The aftermath of the commercial has left me with more questions than answers, and this is only half the story. I reflect on what my co-actor must be dealing with, as she's the other 25 seconds of the story."

This is not the first time Peloton stationary bikes have been ridiculed. Earlier this year, memes circulated on social media criticizing the lifestyle necessary to afford the $2,200 fitness bike and $39 monthly membership fee. Ample free space for the bike is also needed.