The goal of an advertisement is to draw attention to a product and on that scale alone, Peloton has had great success with its ad for a stationary exercise bike — but life in post-Obama America is not all that simple.
Titled “The Gift That Gives Back,” the ad has taken social media by storm for alleged sexist intentions after a woman gets a Peloton bike for Christmas from her husband.
The actor who plays the husband, Sean Hunter, finds himself thrust in the center of a social media firestorm, cast as the villain by hypersensitive critics.
Not that he isn’t trying to have a little fun with the swirling controversy, as seen in an offering on his Instagram page, which Hunter tabbed “Peloton Husband.”
“Who would have thought my wife and I would be in so much controversy! Wish I kept the receipt,” read the caption accompanying a screenshot of the ad.
In today’s cancel culture, the “Peloton husband” is concerned about the impact on his life from a 5-second appearance in the ad after social media users deemed him to be an abusive husband forcing his already rail-thin wife to lose even more weight for his own gratification — the submissive wife obediently slaves to meet her master’s expectation, getting up at the crack of dawn every morning to ride the bike, appearing just as thin as she was to start one year later.
Hunter is also an elementary school teacher who lives in Vancouver, Canada, and he spoke with Psychology Today about the fall out from the commercial.
“My 5 seconds of air time created an array of malicious feedback that is all associated with my face,” he said. “My friend texted me today declaring that I’m ‘a symbol of the patriarchy.'”
An example of the “malicious feedback” Hunter references is seen from Allahpundit: “Absolutely 100% chance that the husband in the Peloton ad is abusive.”
Absolutely 100% chance that the husband in the Peloton ad is abusive
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) December 2, 2019
Hunter also cited Vice’s Katie Way, who wrote of the woman in the ad: “She would rather be anywhere else in the world than here, in her glacial home with the husband she loathes.”
And, given how intolerant the left is, he is rightfully worried about repercussions that may come back to him.
“I pride myself on being a great teacher and developing actor, and I can only hope that this affects neither,” Hunter said. “I’m grappling with the negative opinions as none of them have been constructively helpful.”
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Not only does he worry that the ad may “taint” him when pursuing other acting jobs, but Hunter is also concerned about the possible reaction from his students and whether they will see him differently.
“After all, this commercial has nothing to do with my ability to teach or who I am,” he said. “Unfortunately, the problem is that viewers can mistake an actor as that person after they’ve seen them on television instead of a person given a script with no opinion on what they are being told to portray.”
Hunter also has sympathy for his co-star in the Peloton ad.
“The aftermath of the commercial has left me with more questions than answers, and this is only half the story,” he said. “I reflect on what my co-actor must be dealing with, as she’s the other 25 seconds of the story.”
Meanwhile, Peloton is doing its best to keep a positive outlook on the unexpected backlash.
“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 spokesman said in a statement to CNBC. “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.”
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