Crossfit founder Greg Glassman retires after more racist remarks come out

Yesterday we talked about the fact that Rebook, other major sponsors, gym owners and athletes were cutting ties with Crossfit following CEO Greg Glassman’s racist tweet. You can go to our story from yesterday to see that, he’s a despicable person. Crossfit issued an apology on their official twitter account, presumably from Greg, but it was weak. He denied being racist and called George Floyd a “hero in the black community.” In our story yesterday I included a slideshow that Crossfitter Anna Paquin posted. It was an internal email Glassman had sent to someone on Friday before he sent that awful tweet, putting them on blast. It included the lines “you think you’re more virtuous than we are” and “you’re doing your best to brand us as racist and you know it’s bullsh-t.” Well he’s proven over and over again that he’s racist.

Glassman has been having Zoom meetings with Crossfit gym owners. He had one on Saturday before he sent that tweet. Apparently he said all sorts of racist things, denied that white supremacy was real, and spouted conspiracies about George Floyd’s murder. He also brought up “black on black crime,” a key talking point of racists. Someone sent a recording of the call to Buzzfeed, which reported these details.

Hours before he posted a controversial tweet on Saturday night that has sparked backlash against his company, Greg Glassman, CrossFit’s CEO and founder, told gym owners on a private Zoom call, “We’re not mourning for George Floyd — I don’t think me or any of my staff are,” according to a full recording of the meeting obtained by BuzzFeed News.

“Can you tell me why I should mourn for him? Other than that it’s the white thing to do — other than that, give me another reason,” he asked a Minneapolis gym owner who had questioned why the brand hadn’t posted a statement about the protests across the country after the death of George Floyd.

The 75-minute Zoom call, which was sent to BuzzFeed News via its secure tipline, was part of an initiative that CrossFit had started after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered gyms across the country. CrossFit affiliate owners who spoke with BuzzFeed News said they were invited at random to the check-in calls over the past three months with Glassman and other staffers from CrossFit’s corporate headquarters.

After that article was publish Glassman “retired” and Crossfit issued another truly terrible statement about this. They have lost tens of millions of dollars and their biggest corporate sponsor. Instead of owning up to this, they’re doubling down on the “he’s not racist” angle, letting Glassman retire instead of calling his tweet and words absolutely unacceptable, and are making him out to be a victim, saying he’s “being put on trial online.” These people are unbelievable! Here’s what they said.

During the Zoom call hours earlier, which had been between 16 affiliates and staff members, Glassman repeatedly expressed doubts about whether systemic racism existed and questioned the motives of protests around the country.

“I doubt very much that they’re mourning for Floyd,” Glassman said on the call about protesters and CrossFitters who were looking for the company to speak out. “I don’t think that there’s a general mourning for Floyd in any community.”

[From Buzzfeed]

There are more quotes in there from Glassman praising how awesome the police are in “blighted” neighborhoods, and claiming covid was created in a lab in China and deliberately released, but I’ll spare you. He also said he wouldn’t adhere to safety measures to keep anyone safe from the virus at gyms. One gym owner went on the record to say he thought Glassman was punking everyone at first and couldn’t be serious. Plus Buzzfeed had the context for the letter that Anna Paquin posted. It was Glassman’s absolutely unhinged response to a letter from a Seattle gym owner clearly stating why she was no longer going to operate under the Crossfit brand. Crossfit hadn’t issued any statements or policies about covid and hadn’t said anything about George Floyd’s death or Black Lives Matter.

No one at Crossfit responded to Buzzfeed’s request for comment, but after that article was published Glassman “retired” and Crossfit issued another statement about this. They have lost countless franchisees, tens of millions of dollars and their biggest sponsor. They gave some lip service to how much they appreciate the Black community, but they’re doubling down on the “he’s not racist” angle, letting Glassman retire instead of calling his tweet and words unacceptable, and are making him out to be a victim, saying he’s “being put on trial online.” Their statement is long, defensive and not good. Here’s part of it and here’s a link to Glassman’s retirement message, which is unsurprisingly not very good either.

It is rare for us to speak on these types of issues. We struggled the past few weeks because we allowed our desire to get it right to paralyze us. Tackling social justice issues of this magnitude is not our strength as a company, because our varied points of view sometimes devolve into dysfunction. But we can agree on two things: We are a team dedicated to fitness and health. This team is anti-racist. Therefore, we are committed to scrutinizing ourselves internally, continuing to listen to the community, and taking actions in support of change.

Greg believes in equality. Greg made a mistake. His communications will have to be reconciled with the person we know. He is being put on trial online, and we challenge you to be thorough in your review of a man who is imperfect but sincere in his love of helping others to become better while creating opportunities for others to do the same. He does make mistakes, but he has done more than anyone for this community and created unimagined opportunities for others. If you measure Greg Glassman, do it thoroughly.

But none of this has any bearing on the need for reform, reconciliation, and change…

We care about black lives in every respect and in every aspect of society. That means we support the black police officer who upholds justice, like retired officer David Dorn, as strongly as we cannot stand for the injustice George Floyd faced two weeks ago. Both truths are possible and can coexist.

[From Crossfit]

It’s so bad, right? It’s awful and they had to mention the Black police officer who got killed, while never acknowledging police brutality or systemic racism. Crossfit is rightfully never going to come back from this and their brand will always be associated with this. Good riddance.

This is Tia Clair Toomey she is a badass Crossfit worldclass athlete and has spoken out against Greg’s racism. She says she and her husband are ashamed to be part of Crossfit after this. You can see her full statement about it below.

Here’s Tia Clair’s statement.

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Until changes to @CrossFit are made, I will not be participating in the 2020 Games. I have yet to speak on anything going on for fear of retribution and must remain apolitical due to the nature of my job. This decision puts me in a very vulnerable position with both work and my desired future career as a @CrossFitGames athlete. However, I do not believe choosing to avoid participation in this years event is a violation of duties: to my job, to the sport, or to my ethics. It is my hope that others join me in applying pressure to HQ in order to improve the organization we love and make it better going forward. “I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards—and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.”

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17 Responses to “Crossfit founder Greg Glassman retires after more racist remarks come out”

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  1. Mia4s says:

    I…how can these guys not even fake it?! The ingrained hate and stupidity is mind blowing! How hard is “well it’s all very upsetting and it’s hard to know what to say or do. I am listening and praying for healing” There. I wrote that in 30 seconds. It’s bad and meaningless but it’s not…THAT.

    • lucy2 says:

      Because the ego of a racist apparently knows no bounds. It’s disgusting.

      As hurtful and gross as people like him are, I’m glad they’re being exposed and facing repercussions. I hope this is the moment we’re all really saying NO MORE and not letting people like this excel.
      I wonder if others who invested in Crossfit can sue him for destroying the company.

  2. Sonja says:

    CrossFit (the org not the gyms) is essentially owned and run By white middle aged gun loving religious zealots. Homophobic and messy. Good riddance.

    • Betsy says:

      Honestly, that vibe manages to be conveyed even by the gyms. That whole movement gives me the creeps on several levels.

    • Esmom says:

      Yes. As someone said yesterday, they’re just a name now anyway. A decent gym run by professionals can still provide quality workouts without their backing. Especially if they’ve created a strong community who are there for the people, not the brand.

  3. Imogene says:

    I always got bad vibes from crossfit. People become so obsessed and insular. This does not surprise me. Crossfit-mania took over my workplace a few years ago and it was so deeply annoying to be judged and pushed to try it out by coworkers. It is like that old vegan joke “how do you know someone is a vegan? don’t worry they’ll tell you”

    • Betsy says:

      Yeah, I have one friend who is HUGE into CrossFit. She’s frequently battling injuries and I always think that perhaps something slightly more moderate would result in less stress to her body.

    • Yup, Me says:

      They operate like a cult and they push people into injuring themselves. Repeatedly. They’ve needed a reckoning for a long time.

  4. SamC says:

    I follow Amy VanDyken on IG, she’s the gold medalist for swimming who is now paralyzed from an ATV accident. She does CrossFit and if I read recents posts correctly CrossFit HQ also does not include categories for adaptive athletes in their officially sanctioned CF competitions. Adaptive athletes have created their own, CF uses it for the PR, but they refuse to formally recognize those athletes and competitions, etc. Writing this not to compare situations, but to note issues at CrossFit HQ run deep.

    • SomeChick says:

      Sad and unsurprising.

      Go, independent gyms! Go, Tia Claire! What a great statement.

      CF did not invent weight training. The brand was not really needed, and it certainly isn’t needed now.

      All of their mealymouthing right now is about money, and only money. Letting Glassman “retire” probably kicked in a fatty pension/retirement package. The company’s value is in the terlit. Now they are scrambling. Bye, Felicia! Perhaps they should market to RWNJs and gun nuts. Some of those dudes could really use a gym membership.

  5. goofpuff says:

    Who cares if he ‘retired’? He’s still making money off it in retirement. This is one that Cancel Culture should rightfully cancel. CrossFit is done.

  6. Lionel Ritchie’ Clay Head says:

    It’s really problematic because he’s 100% owner of the brand. If they were serious about making a change, they would announce that they are figuring out a different ownership strategy.

    And Castro, Glassman’s replacement, has been at CFHQ almost since the beginning. Hopefully he and Glassman don’t share the same ideals.

  7. LunaSF says:

    I’ve always had a weird feeling about Crossfit. It always seemed cultish and fanatical and Crossfit enthusiasts rubbed me the wrong way. Working out is great and all but Crossfitters seemed to make it their whole identity and it seemed like a lot of alpha guys. Now I feel validated In my judginess!

    • AMA1977 says:

      Same, it just has a squicky, cultish feeling to it. And crossfitters are so super defensive about how “inclusive” it is and how “accepting” they are. I remember a few years back I’d be at the Y working out and there were always these douchebro types trying to adapt the equipment to make it crossfitty and swinging kettle bells around aggressively. No thanks, I don’t need your tractor tires, I’ll just stick to these 8-pound weights. I always got a bad vibe from them and I am NOT surprised that this garbage person is their founder. Or that the organization can’t get out of their own way and actually apologize.

  8. ClaireB says:

    Where I live, people who do CrossFit are the firefighters, paramedics, and police officers who are racist MAGAts anyway, so this is on-brand as far as I can tell.

  9. Meg says:

    This is not a complicated issue but theyre blaming PC culture as to why ‘cant win’? Just post black lives matter that would’ve been better than this which required a lot more effort and time

  10. SKF says:

    What an appalling human and organisation. They won’t ever be able to release a decent statement because the racism runs too deep. They are incapable of it.

    These people should develop their own program or switch to F45 (which is more well-rounded, less focused on constantly upping everything which puts people at risk of injuries, but is still team-based and Uber-competitive). CrossFit won’t ever change, no point waiting for it to.

    Good statement from Tia; but I think she just needs to bow out completely rather than wait for something better from HQ. It won’t change. Start something new!