CrossFit fires employee after '"pride" is a sin' tweet
A controversy that started with the cancelation of a CrossFit pride workout and ended with a tweet, has resulted in a gym’s closing and an employee’s termination.
By Tim Fitzsimons
CrossFit, the fitness company famous for its devoted fans and exhausting workouts, faced a wave of controversy after an affiliate gym in Indianapolis canceled a planned LGBTQ pride event in a religiously inspired email to members.
CrossFit Infiltrate owner Brandon Lowe instructed his Indianapolis gym to cancel the pride workout in a note sent on June 1.
“We believe that true health forever can only be found within humility, not pride. Humility is seeing oneself as they truly are, and as God truly defines them to be. As a business we will choose to deploy our resources towards those efforts and causes that line up with our own values and beliefs," Lowe wrote.
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After the cancelation note was sent out, CrossFit member Ryan Nix organized a Facebook boycott on June 3. Members then began to cancel their memberships in protest. By Tuesday, June 5, CrossFit’s corporate parent intervened, fired Lowe and closed CrossFit Infiltrate, according to CNBC.
"It made me feel really uncomfortable and not welcome. And not just me but a lot of the other members," former member Dan Mendoza told NBC affiliate WTHR in Indianapolis.
The controversy went national, however, when Russell Berger — who claimed in his Twitter profile to be the CrossFit “chief knowledge officer” — posted a string of tweets early Wednesday supporting the Indiana gym's decision to shut down the pride workout.
"As someone who personally believes celebrating 'pride' is a sin, I'd like to personally encourage #CrossFitInfiltrate for standing by their convictions and refusing to host an @indypride workout. The intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views is mind-blowing," Berger wrote in a tweet, which has since been deleted.
Berger's tweet quickly sparked controversy and debates across social media.
Hey @BergerRussell why did you delete your bigotry tweet toward the LGBTQ community? I’m ashamed to own an affiliate right now because of you, you disgusting piece of trash. pic.twitter.com/zVFXDi9waI
— Krissy Mae Cagney :rainbow-flag: (@krissymaecagney) June 6, 2018
Prayers going out for @BergerRussell. What a mighty defender of the faith. I appreciate your courage. “Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” John 15:20
Try again. It’s capitalism. It’s calling on the brand to not associate with someone who vocalizes just negative opinions and tries to speak for “most Christians”, especially when they’re the Chief “Knowledge” Officer. Infiltrate closed because people took their business elsewhere
The controversy also quickly led to CrossFit terminating Berger, whom the company claimed was a "legal researcher" at CrossFit, not the "chief knowledge officer" as he had claimed, according to Deadspin.
The statements made today by Russell Berger do not reflect the views of CrossFit Inc. For this reason, his employment with CrossFit has been terminated.