The ‘Peloton husband,’ who once starred in an episode of Lucifer and then landed a role in a commercial that has been denounced as sexist toward women, is responding.
In-home fitness equipment company Peloton’s stock has dropped 15 percent this week over controversy surrounding the ad.
In the process, the company has lost more than $1.5 billion in market value.
The ad, titled “The Gift that Gives Back,” features a woman showing a video diary to her male partner detailing the year she spent using the Peloton that he gave her.
The ad has gone viral since its Nov. 4 release, getting more than 4 million views on YouTube.
However, the response from consumers has been overwhelmingly negative, with many critics calling the ad sexist and dystopian.
Sean Hunter, a Canadian actor and former guest star on Lucifer, described the shock of being thrust in the center of a social media firestorm.
He also says he is worried that the viral backlash will damage his fledgling acting career as well as his status as a elementary school teacher.
‘I currently sit here hoping that I’ll be able to continue auditioning for commercials without any taint, and that if my students happen to find the commercial and recognize me, they won’t think about me any different than they already know me,’ Hunter told Psychology Today.
The woman’s already-svelte figure before she receives the bike is virtually unchanged a year after.
Viewers trashed the ad on Twitter, calling it sexist, misogynistic, humiliating and cringeworthy.
Comedian Jess Dweck tweeted that the ad reminded her of an episode of the popular show “Black Mirror.”
The only way to enjoy that Peloton ad is to think of it as the first minute of an episode of Black Mirror
— Jess Dweck (@TheDweck) December 2, 2019
Others were less kind:
Hands up if the @onepeloton Christmas ad made you sick in your mouth a little bit AND resolve never to be “that guy” in a relationship?#peloton #exercisebike #fatshaming #thegiftthatkeepsongiving #prdisaster
— Daniel Rootes (@RootesRacing) December 3, 2019
Sorry to shake things up but I’m excited to announce I’m throwing my hat in the ring and joining the presidential race and running on the single issue platform to jail everyone involved in the pitching, scripting, acting, shooting, and approval of the Peloton ad.
— Bess Kalb (@bessbell) December 2, 2019
We all need to treasure the things that bring us together as a nation, as a people. Collectively hating on this Peloton ad is that thing. pic.twitter.com/UQtUU4CCQt
— Renee Klahr (@reneeklahr) December 2, 2019
In my version of the #Peloton ad, the woman goes to her controlling husband with her curvy new female lover and says she’s discovered scissoring is a much better exercise technique and that now she can also eat till she’s full…. pic.twitter.com/dxIoQMdWmm
— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) December 3, 2019
— Kristen Baldwin (@KristenGBaldwin) December 2, 2019
So… @OnePeloton have disabled comments on their 30 second “I have to ride every day or my controlling husband won’t love me” commercial.
3,402 Dislikes (Hates)
If #Peloton is so great, why does the woman in the video NEVER look happy?
— Fox God Records (@FoxGodRecords) December 3, 2019
I’ve received more hatred from a tweet mocking a Peloton ad than I ever experienced as a Muslim living in America in the wake of 9/11. https://t.co/H2OYHxq0m9
— Siraj Hashmi (@SirajAHashmi) December 5, 2019
if I had a husband who got me a peloton to remind me to stay skinny i would get my little ass on the seat bc if he has peloton cash I can put up with some shit
— christina (@floozyesq) December 5, 2019
My husband would be getting divorce papers. This #peloton ad is ridiculous! Vlogging the whole thing and then having him watch as conformation she did work out is super cringey! https://t.co/xDAuXqJqre
— 🥺dory🐠🐠🐠 (@dory_derry) December 3, 2019
I feel bad for the #Peloton actress. Between the weird public anger at the ad, memes, and hoopla… It is lost that she was actually a believable character.
— Nick Lilja (@NickLilja) December 7, 2019
What I really want to know is how that teacher guy on the peloton commercial could even afford one in the first place.
— Nonchalant Charlotte (@jellybnbonanza) December 6, 2019
In his comments to Psychology Today, Hunter says that overall reaction from his friends to the ad was overwhelmingly positive when the ad was first unveiled.
‘Reviews from my friends stopped as the video went viral,’ he said. ‘I soon noticed that the commercial had several thousand down votes as the tweets came out and talk shows weighed in.’
Hunter cited a number of viral tweets, including one which said that there’s ‘absolutely a ‘100% chance that the husband in the Peloton ad is abusive.’
Other tweets denouncing the ad as sexist also began to make an impact on Hunter.
‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,’ he says.
Hunter’s IMDB page indicates that his most notable acting role was on Lucifer.
Lucifans may remember him from the episode “Monster,” the sixth episode of the second season of Lucifer.
He played angry husband Jason Myers (a reference from the writers to the evil characters in Friday the 13th & Halloween).
Hunter says being associated with the commercial has him ‘wondering what repercussions will come back to me.’
‘I pride myself on being a great teacher and developing actor, and I can only hope that this affects neither,’ he says.
‘I’m grappling with the negative opinions as none of them have been constructively helpful.’
Hunter says he hopes that people won’t judge him as a person based on the commercial.
‘After all, this commercial has nothing to do with my ability to teach or who I am,’ he says.
Despite the backlash, the company has not yet removed the ad from the internet.
In defense of the ad, a spokesperson for Peloton said in a statement: “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.”
One thing is for sure: Tom Ellis should avoid buying Meaghan a Peloton bike for Christmas.