Anna Paquin, Reebok, athletes & gyms cut ties with Crossfit after CEO’s racist tweet

Crossfit has a cult following, with small independent franchise gyms across the US. We don’t have one in my town, but their daily workouts look brutal. (Full disclosure: I’m going on the posted workouts, I haven’t actually done Crossfit.) There’s a real camaraderie and sense of community among Crossfitters. Actress Anna Paquin loves their workouts and posts photos where she’s making friends with other Crossfitters, even when she travels. So when I saw her post saying she wasn’t going to be loyal to the brand anymore I was surprised. It turns out that the CEO and founder, Greg Glassman, made a horribly racist tweet. Several franchises are cutting ties, Reebok has ended their contract with them, and some top athletes in the Crossfit games have announced that they will no longer compete. Glassman has apologized, but only after he was rightfully called out for it. Here’s what he tweeted on Saturday. It was so bad.

That’s awful and racist on several levels. Plus Anna Paquin has shared an internal email he sent putting someone on blast for calling him racist. (You can see that in her Instagram slideshow at the top of this post.) Prior to this, Crossfit and Glassman hadn’t issued any tweets or posts in support of Black Lives Matter or in reference to George Floyd’s murder. Glassman has since “apologized” for that tweet but insists he’s not racist. Interestingly enough, this was tweeted from the official Crossfit account, not Glassman’s personal account. This is bad, but how much do you want to bet he didn’t even write it? They probably took his explanation, sanitized it and tried to make him sound sorry and like he cares.

“I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday.

My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.

Floyd is a hero in the black community and not just a victim. I should have been sensitive to that and wasn’t. I apologize for that. I was trying to stick it to the @IHME_UW for their invalidated models resulting in needless, economy-wrecking, life-wrecking lockdown, and when I saw they were announcing modeling a solution to our racial crisis, I was incredulous, angry, and overly emotional. Involving George Floyd’s name in that effort was wrong.

It’s our hope that his murder catalyzes real change resulting in a level playing field for our black brothers and sisters.

Please hear me when I say, we stand by our community to fight for justice. I care about you, our community, and I am here for you.”

[From Twitter]

So he’s anti-lockdown too? It figures. At least 300 gyms, multiple sponsors and Crossfit athletes have since cut ties with Crossfit. People has more:

Glassman’s tweet of June 6 set off an outcry among the thousands of CrossFit gym members, owners, professional athletes and many of the brands that have long been affiliated with CrossFit. Reebok, which has been the exclusive maker of all official CrossFit apparel and the title sponsor of the annual CrossFit games for the last 10 years, said that they would drop their affiliation once their contract ends this year.

Several other sponsors, including Rogue, which manufacturers barbells and other weightlifting equipment used in CrossFit, have also dropped their partnerships.

And as of Monday morning, at least 300 gyms have dropped their CrossFit affiliation and changed their names, according to a Google Spreadsheet that began circulating on Reddit. In New York City, for example, CrossFit Greenpoint has switched their name to Greenpoint Athletics and CrossFit Queens has become Community Fitness of Queens. Many others are still deciding on a new name.

“Our partnership with CrossFit HQ comes to an end later this year. Recently, we have been in discussions regarding a new agreement, however, in light of recent events, we have made the decision to end our partnership with CrossFit HQ,” Reebok said in a statement to Footwear News. “We will fulfill our remaining contractual obligations in 2020. We owe this to the CrossFit Games competitors, fans and the community.”

Professional CrossFit athletes have spoken out against Glassman’s tweet and a growing list have said that they will not continue to support the organization unless they take further action to support the Black community, Morning Chalk Up reported. Five athletes have said that they will decline their invitation to the 2020 CrossFit Games if there is not further action.

[From People]

I’m glad that the gyms are cutting ties particularly and that the athletes and companies are too. Glassman is an awful person and he’ll always be known as a racist now. Good. I don’t know how Crossfit will recover from this unless Glassman steps down and is replaced by someone else.

This is badass I wish I could do this:

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41 Responses to “Anna Paquin, Reebok, athletes & gyms cut ties with Crossfit after CEO’s racist tweet”

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  1. Cate says:

    That is disgusting and reprehensible. I love Anna, she is fierce and stands up for what she believes in.

  2. Coco says:

    This guys sucks and CrossFit HQ sucks too. My husband is a die-hard CrossFitter and we have two friends who own Boxes. They both are parting ways with CrossFit and I couldn’t be prouder of their decision. Our family is done with them too.

    • dogmom says:

      @Coco first of all I love your name! That’s my dog’s name, actually. My stepbrother is huge into CrossFit and ordered weights and stuff so he could continue the workouts at home during the shutdown, and now that this has happened he says he won’t go back and will just keep working out at home.

    • Esmom says:

      My local Crossfit posted a long thing yesterday about how disappointed they are and that they would be watching for growth by Glassman and possibly drop the affiliation. Members chimed in saying F that, drop him now. They can still use the expertise they’ve gained…seems like most coaches and owners of places like that are experienced and knowledgeable enough to be fine with whatever Crossfit provides.

      • sassafras says:

        My husband essentially built a box in our garage and has been training family/ neighbors during lockdown (safely). No one needs a corporation to tell them how to do burpees, pull ups and flip tires. It’s pretty basic fitness stuff. Everyone should sever their ties to this bully organization.

    • Snazzy says:

      I used to love Crossfit but I stopped when a) I found it inspired an “over competitiveness” that could actually get people hurt and b) that they actually give guns out as prizes at competitions. When I found that out, I was done. So I’m not surprised by this at all, and I’m really glad many boxes are walking away from the brand

  3. milliemollie says:

    I’m glad that racists finally face consequences for their actions. But it almost “amazes” me that racists still think they can say or tweet their hate and think they get away with it after everything that has happened since George Floyd has been murdered.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      Right? The audacity of these racist bastards is unbelievable!
      So glad people and gyms are telling this POS where to stick it. We are all FED UP.

  4. SomeChick says:

    CF has always seemed a bit culty to me. Good for all the gym owners who are going independent! Your regulars are not going to stop going to your gym.

    • Renee says:

      100% culty. I have personally and also know people who have lost touch with friends who now only hang out with their CF buddies. It’s really bizarre.

      • ChillyWilly says:

        I have heard this as well. But I have also heard of C.F. Gyms run by and for recovering addicts which seems like a really good way to stay sober. You meet new friends and keep your body and mind fit.

      • SomeChick says:

        @ChillyWilly – any gym could do that or be that, tho. The Y is great, without all the weird excessive competitiveness, jargon, or high monthly fees.

        Unfortunately cults just love recovering addicts. Anyone with a vulnerable area in their life, they just seize on. They all do this. It is how they get new people into something that looks dodgy outright to those who aren’t in a space of seeking or hurt.

        When I heard that CF encourages people to work out so hard they barf… that’s just not healthy. No one has a copyright on exercise. They seem worse than Peleton! LOL!

  5. Laalaa says:

    That is a disgusting tweet, and the email makes it even worse 100x, which I didn’t think was possible. Love Anna, and good for all to cut ties

  6. Seraphina says:

    Wait, is it because of my lack of coffee or did his apology Say: it was not racist but a mistake???? WTF.

  7. Seraphina says:

    Wait, it may be due to lack of coffee that I may have read it wrong but did his statement say: it was not racist but a mistake? WTF

  8. Teresa says:

    How do people think racists jokes don’t make you a racist. What are you then a comedian? At best all a racist “joke” does is perpetuate a harmful stereotype or continues association with certain races as having certain traits. More likely it continues to keep certain race down.

  9. Cherry says:

    Honest question- as a non-native speaker I really don’t understand why ‘It’s FLOYD-19.’ is a horribly racist thing to say. I understand not issuing any tweets or posts in support of Black Lives Matter can be interpreted as tone-deaf or negligent. Does this mean not speaking out= racist? I can understand that, but then I still don’t understand why Glassmans tweet was horribly racist! Please understand I’m not trying to be critical, I just try to understand!

    • Lara says:

      My take on it Cherry is that Coronavirus is called COVID-19. So he’s basically comparing all of the incredible protests that are happening at the moment and all the work that people are doing with a pandemic that has killed millions.

      • ChillyWilly says:

        Not to mention using George Floyd ‘s name as a jokey catch phrase. The man was brutally murdered 2 weeks ago! They just laid him to rest. It’s so cold hearted on top of being racist AF.

    • Laalaa says:

      As a non-native speaker as well I say –
      He put the name of a person in the name of a virus, and used it as a pun. He would never do that for a white person. Black people are a pun-material to him. And a disease!

      Of course, there is a million other ways to interpret it, but it is racist, no question.

    • Sonja says:

      ex CrossFitter here. Glassman believes the institute for health botched the management of covid-19 and that hurt his brand and the gyms. The reference to Floyd-19 is intended to mean they’ll mess up the response to BLM the same way. That’s what his apology tried to explain. Badly. And the email he sent blows that out of the water as a lie anyway.

      Glassman is a dick for this and the brand won’t recover. I’ll be interested to see how others like Dave Castro respond.

      As for the athletes, to say they’re waiting is bull. CrossFit HQ does not know how to address this and won’t change. The athletes need to cut ties now.

      As for Anna I find her obsession with CF annoying to be honest but probably because I did it for 5 years and don’t want to know about the workouts anymore.

    • Sojaschnitzel says:

      Came here to ask the same, also not a native speaker, and hailing from a different continent. I am seriously interested in learning, as I am lacking the cultural background to get the meaning here. I get that he tried to merge the name of the victim with the virus, but.. why? It certainly doesn’t work as a joke (no matter how racist a joke). It seems so random to me. I don’t get it.
      Either way: have him step down and replace him with a black person. I LOVE what Onassis did, it’s just awesome. Bring black people into positions of power, as many as you can.

    • emmy says:

      If native speakers want to correct me, please do. But I read it as him calling the BLM movement a disease or virus. I think there are layers to this that can be read many different ways. None of them good.

      • Mle428 says:

        Emmy, native English speaker here, and he absolutely was calling the BLM movement a virus. It was meant as it was written. Disgusting.

  10. Yamayo says:

    Anna has always been awesome on IG.
    Her and Stephen are a great down to earth couple.

    • lucy2 says:

      I just now followed her, she does seem pretty great.

      I hate that people are still making racist “jokes” and comments, but I’m loving how swiftly the consequences are smacking them in the face at the moment (hope it continues). There should be no tolerance for that, and I’m glad to see so many gyms and people right away were like “Nope. Done.”

  11. Margot says:

    One of the higher ups in Crossfit lives in the city where I’m from, and the guy is SUCH a jerk. He got in trouble a few years back for tweeting homophobic remarks. Said LBGTQ Pride is a sin. He’s a crazy religious zealot– regularly attached people on Facebook posts about abortion. Anyway, this is all to say that this seems to be a common problem with the company.

    • Esmom says:

      Yeah one of my local Crossfits (we have quite a few in my area) is a MAGA/Blue Lives Matter hotbed. I can’t believe the stuff the owner posts, not even thinking it might cost her some members. My son’s athletic team was considering using them for off season training and I successfully steered them to another, independent gym.

  12. JOANN TONER says:

    Great article!

  13. AnnaKist says:

    One of my friends said to me today after seeing a report on our Sydney news, “These bloody racists really should shut the f*** up. I hate them. “ I said, I hate them, too, but it’s good that they identify themselves for what they are, because then we can call them out, condemn their ignorant beliefs and despicable behaviour, and maybe educate them. They’re like infections. When you don’t know they’re there, you can’t take steps to rid the world of them.

    • Esmom says:

      That is what my friend keeps saying is the best thing about the Trump era. I agree. Let them show themselves, and let us overcome.

  14. savu says:

    To me, calling George Floyd a hero shows a deep misunderstanding of the issue. It just doesn’t feel right. Martyr maybe, but the word hero makes it sound like he somehow participated in his death, or chose it – instead of being the straight up victim that he was. I get that they’re trying to say he sparked this movement and is now a symbol for all the Black lives lost to police violence. Hero just rubs me the wrong way.

    • Esmom says:

      I agree. At best, it oversimplifies what happened and the entire history that led up to his death. I wouldn’t expect this guy to even try to understand those nuances when choosing his words.

    • Sunday says:

      ITA, savu. Not only was it a poor word choice, but to me it was basically dripping with sarcasm; you can almost hear his eyes rolling.

      In this piss-poor apology he also tries to justify his initial, disgusting comment by explaining he was “economically anxious” about the lockdown and was angry they were addressing racism. That’s been the go-to dogwhistle/excuse since the crooked Cheeto was “elected” – his voters aren’t racist, they’re just worried about the economy! Sure, Jan. We see you.

      • stormsmama says:

        plus he says “not racist, a mistake”
        UM NOPE. Racist! and a mistake! BOTH! bc you are racist!

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree.

  15. Enis says:

    Having been involved with CrossFit I am kind of shocked that gyms are cutting ties. It always felt too much like a cult to me.

  16. Mtec says:

    This isn’t the first time he’s been accused of being racist right? Didn’t ppl try to cancel CrossFit some time ago?

  17. PRMinx says:

    CrossFit is just a name at this point. The great gym owners will still program effective workouts with HIIT and oly lift components, while maintaining a strong community. My gym is de-affiliating, and rightfully so. It won’t change who they are, the fitness they promote and the community we love. I’ll still show up like nothing has changed because, we have to remember, individual affiliates are privately owned gyms who have no influence over the CFHQ.

  18. Mabs A'Mabbin says: