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CrossFit CEO Resigns After Racist Zoom Call Goes Public

CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman abruptly resigned after sharing wild conspiracy theories about George Floyd and the coronavirus on a weekend Zoom call with staff, investors and gym owners.
CrossFit CEO Resigns After Racist Zoom Call Goes Public
Image from: Unsplash - Victor Freitas

Over the weekend, as worldwide protests raged on, Crossfit CEO Greg Glassman decided it was a great time to minimize the death of George Floyd. His comments were not misinterpreted. They were not confusing. He did not intend to say something but slip up. No, he was really clear. During the call on Saturday, he said:

“We're not mourning for George Floyd — I don't think me or any of my staff are...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."

Buzzfeed released a recording of the call Glassman had with investors, staff and gym owners on Saturday and, wow, it is BAD.

Once news broke about the comments, numerous companies and athletes immediately cut ties with CrossFit.\

Reebok released a statement:

“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.”

Numerous professional athletes also put out statements and cut ties with the brand, including CrossFit athlete Rich Froning, who has won the CrossFit Games four times, CrossFit Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey said she was "incredibly saddened, disappointed and frustrated" and last year’s second place competitor, Noah Ohlsen, announced he would not compete in this year’s games.

Affiliate gym, Rocket CrossFit, based in Seattle, is one of at least 200 linked gyms to also publicly disaffiliate from the company. Finally, Rogue Fitness, which provides strength training equipment to the CrossFit games, said it would remove the CrossFit logo from this year’s event and will “work with CrossFit Games leadership to determine the best path forward.”

Shortly after Buzzfeed released their article and the recording, Glassman announced his resignation.

Some of his incendiary comments regarding George Floyd include:

  • “I doubt very much that they’re mourning for Floyd", regarding protestors
  • “It's very interesting that George gets popped with counterfeits, and who comes but the head of security from the dance club? Watch: This thing's going to turn into first-degree murder", pushing forward some weird conspiracy theory
  • Glassman also complained about looting, saying “Moved to action? Burning the city down, is that the action? Destruction of Black- and minority-owned businesses, is that the action?”
  • He also said he wasn’t going to “fund antifa” — another conspiracy theory — because “a guy got killed.”
  • Regarding defunding police departments, he said “It sounds like more of the same. It sounds like punishing the cops. It sounds like blaming the police for all of the problems in blighted communities, and I don’t think anything could be farther from the truth. Have you ever done a ride-along with cops in a rough neighborhood?”
  • Regarding coronavirus, he said: “The Chinese let this virus get out of the laboratory, and that indeed did happen." (this is not true, fyi)
  • Finally, he bashed lock down measures, parroting the Trump and MAGA line about this costing more lives and actually encouraged his gym owners to PRETEND TO COMPLY with health precautions. WHAT? He said: “It was a panic. Absolute panic right from the start. And I think it's inevitable that it's going to turn out that this has cost way more lives than have been saved. Way more. At some point, you've got to do what's right, and it may not come with approval. It may not be seen as the right thing to do, but you still have to do it. It's the burden. I was asked by the Italians, 'What would you do, coach?' And I said, 'I would agree to any restrictions put on me by the health authorities, and I would open my gym, and then 10 minutes later I would do whatever the fuck I wanted. That's what I would do.'

Feedback came immediately, with call participants reaching out the Glassman to tell them that they would be leaving the brand. Glassman did not take it well. In one email released by Alyssa Royse, an affiliate owner from Seattle, Glassman said:

"You're doing your best to brand us as racist and you know it's bullshit. That makes you a really shitty person. Do you understand that? You've let your politics warp you into something that strikes me as wrong to the point of being evil. I am ashamed of you.”

While discussing the email on a later Zoom call, Glassman said:

“It’s a horrible fucking thing to do to someone, to call them a racist when there’s no evidence, when there’s not one scintilla of evidence to suggest anything like that, and that’s what she did to me. And what I sent her back was a ‘Fuck off!' You call me a racist and I'mma tell you, ‘Fuck you!’ You tell me to spin around twice or I’m a racist and I’ll go, ‘Fuck you!’ We can get to 'fuck you' a bunch of ways. What it leads me to believe is that this isn’t about race.”

Here is Glassman's resignation statement:

Is this too late to save the CrossFit brand? Who knows. One more racist bites the dust.

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