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‘Peloton husband’ finally shares his terrible ordeal

Sean Hunter, a Canadian actor and school teacher, was thrilled when he booked a role in a Peloton ad. He had a blast filming the commercial and, when the ad came out in November, his friends kindly told him it was great.

But this week the ad went viral and poor Hunter’s world started to fall apart. Twitter declared the ad Very Bad Indeed! People were mean about him on the internet and suggested the fictional husband he played was abusive. One of his own pals joked that Hunter had become a “symbol of the patriarchy”. Recounting his ordeal to Psychology Today, Hunter lamented that his “five seconds of air time created an array of malicious feedback that is all associated with my face”. In order to distant himself from the commercial, Hunter changed his Instagram handle to pelotonhusband,

For those of you haven’t seen the ad yet: a woman gets Peloton’s $2,400, Wifi-enabled exercise bike from her husband (Hunter) for Christmas. She starts a video diary of her sessions, and manages to give the unnerving impression that her husband will beat her or leave her if she doesn’t wake up early every morning to exercise on her fancy bike.

That’s the precis, but I suggest you watch the ad for yourself because words can’t do justice to how cringeworthy it is. Indeed, when I first saw it trending I assumed Peloton had made the ad awful on purpose so that it would go viral. The company is valued at several billion dollars, after all. Surely it knows what it’s doing?

And then I watched the “sexist and dystopian” ad. It wasn’t tongue-in-cheek terrible. It was terrible-terrible. Its attempts to portray getting on an exercise bike as some sort of life-changing spiritual journey inadvertently lifted a lid on the “wellness” industry, revealing it as an expensive scam. I started to understand why the company’s stock had plunged and it had lost $1.5bn in value amid the Twitter backlash.

I have some sympathy for the fact that Hunter’s face is now associated with a viral ad the entire internet is dunking on. But it’s also somewhat ironic that a man with five seconds of air time has set out to prove he isn’t a “symbol of the patriarchy” by making the Peloton advert controversy entirely about him and bizarrely casting himself as a victim.

Hunter could have spent five minutes thinking critically about why the ad was being called “sexist”. Instead he whined 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.” Dude, I think people realize you were playing a fictional character and that you didn’t write the script.

He also sadly asked: “If recognized on the street, what will people’s first opinions be of me?” Hunter, mate, let me reassure you that by next week this ad, and your face, will be very old news.

Montreal massacre finally acknowledged as a misogynistic attack

Thirty years ago a gunman killed 14 young women in Montreal’s École Polytechnique. It was the deadliest mass shooting in Canada’s history and was very clearly an act of gender terrorism: the shooter told his victims he was “fighting feminism” and, in a suicide letter, blamed feminists for ruining his life. Despite his explicit misogyny, however, it wasn’t until Thursday that the tragedy was officially described as an anti-feminist attack. On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the massacre, a new memorial plaque was unveiled condemning the “anti-feminist attack” and “all forms of violence against women”.

Mike Pence’s Aids hypocrisy

It was World Aids Day last Sunday and the vice-president tweeted a message of solidarity. Which was brazenly hypocritical considering the man bears a huge amount of responsibility for a preventable HIV outbreak in Indiana.

Female freelancers make a lot less than men

They earn 35% less per project and 11% less annually than their male counterparts, according to a new study by HoneyBook, a financial management platform.

Indian woman set on fire on way to rape hearing

The 23-year-old is in critical condition after being set upon by five men. It’s just the latest in a series of horrific attacks against women in India.

Indian navy gets its first female pilot

She’s 24 years old and goes by one name only: Shivangi.

more than 3,000 Uber sexual assaults last year

Uber has released its first ever safety report and it makes for grim reading: more than 3,000 Uber America passengers reported sexual assaults in 2018. The fact that the ride-sharing company is making these numbers public is a step in the right direction. Lyft – which is facing a number of sexual assault lawsuits – would do well to follow suit.

Cruise line sexual assault reports jump 67%

There have been 35 alleged sexual assaults on cruise lines sailing from US ports in the third quarter of this year. This is an increase of 67% from Q3 2018, according to the US Department of Transportation.

New Caledonia’s snorkeling seniors

A group of seven women, aged between 60 and 75, are helping scientists keep track of sea snakes in New Caledonia. The snorkeling seniors have been nicknamed the “fantastic grandmothers” and, according to the New York Times, their data collection “has resulted in more detailed information on the ecology of greater sea snakes than is available for any other wide‐ranging sea snake worldwide”. As one scientist noted, “If there is one thing I want everyone to learn from this, it’s that you should never underestimate grandmothers.”





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