Celebrity Culture: The CEO of cult-following gym CrossFit resigned 2 weeks ago after a tweet about George Floyd. Insiders say the company is built on a toxic, ‘frat party’ workplace that demeans women.
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- Greg Glassman, founding father of cult-following fitness tag CrossFit, announced that he would be stepping down as CEO on June 9.
- The announcement came after he used to be broadly criticized for a tweet that be taught “Or no longer it is FLOYD-19” in accordance to racism being a public well being challenge.
- Industrial Insider spoke to bigger than 30 frail HQ workers, and recent and frail affiliate gym owners and CrossFit athletes.
- Insiders claim the tradition of the office demeaned females, operated off retribution, and used to be dominated by a danger of getting on Glassman’s substandard aspect. A CrossFit spokesperson declined to statement on CrossFit’s office tradition.
- Are you a frail or recent CrossFit employee, gym proprietor, or athlete with a yarn to piece? E-mail the newshounds at [email protected] or [email protected]
- Talk over with Industrial Insider’s homepage for extra reviews.
The tweet that did him in used to be quick.
On June 6, Greg Glassman, founder and CEO of cult-following gym CrossFit, took to Twitter and, in accordance to 1 other tweet about racism being a public well being challenge, wrote: “Or no longer it is FLOYD-19.”
The tweet, which came on the extinguish of protests over police brutality following the killing of George Floyd and three months into the coronavirus pandemic, used to be broadly criticized. Glassman issued an apology the subsequent day, writing, “It used to be a mistake, no longer racist however a mistake,” however the backlash used to be swift.
On June 7, Reebok, the corporate’s greatest sponsor, announced it might maybe help out of its 10-year sponsorship on the extinguish of the year. By June 18, bigger than 1,4 hundred gyms had dropped or were ultimately of of shedding their CrossFit affiliations, in accordance to Morning Chalk Up. (A CrossFit spokesperson talked about the beneficial number is closer to 450, however that there might maybe well also very well be extra owners who intend to disaffiliate however dangle no longer but begun the route of.) And on June 9, Glassman announced he would be stepping down from his role as CEO.
The tweet used to be doubtlessly the most in model in a string of controversial feedback that were, in accordance to sources, indicative of the plan Glassman ran CrossFit. A frail video producer on the Scotts Valley, California headquarters, Marston Sawyers, instructed Industrial Insider, “Your complete tradition used to be roughly built on controversy and they also would persistently try to push that.”
Industrial Insider spoke to bigger than 30 frail company workers, and recent and frail tag athletes and affiliate gym owners to win an internal dangle a look on the corporate’s tradition. Across these conversations, a series of dispositions emerged. Insiders claimed there used to be a poisonous office that demeaned females, operated off retribution, and used to be dominated by a danger of getting on Glassman’s substandard aspect.
Celebrity Culture: The CrossFit empire is huge
Glassman launched Unsuitable-Slot in 1995 in Santa Cruz along with his then-wife, Lauren Jenai (Glassman has been married three times). The couple had been kicked out of gym after gym for his or her unorthodox training suggestions. CrossFit used to be formally based as a gym in 2000.
“We started from nothing,” Jenai instructed Industrial Insider. “We had a tight, amazing family and drew amazing americans into the corporate.”
Tony Blauer, a longtime perfect friend of Glassman’s who designed the self protection program for CrossFit, credits Glassman’s teaching with its early success.
“Greg … used to be onto one thing, and the americans who bought it, bought it,” Blauer instructed Industrial Insider. “He attracted inspired and motivated americans spherical him who helped him develop it.”
Glassman’s tendency to grab on battles used to be what to birth with allowed CrossFit to stand out, frail employee Tommy Marquez, who worked in the media division from 2012 to 2018, instructed Industrial Insider.
“Within the early days, CrossFit used to be viewed as this recent fad that didn’t dangle any roots in science, largely viewed as this underground, contrarian kind movement,” Marquez instructed Industrial Insider. “Greg has overtly talked about that he likes a fight. He likes being a contrarian. He likes to push towards the grain.”
“Greg has overtly talked about that he likes a fight. He likes being a contrarian. He likes to push towards the grain.”
Or no longer it is an command the corporate either hasn’t been ready, or hasn’t tried, to shed. In a lot of how, CrossFit and its leadership dangle embraced the aptitude dangers of the sport as a badge of honor. Stories dangle linked CrossFit to a potentially bad condition called rhabdomyolysis (a truth Glassman has beforehand addressed), that will spoil the kidneys. Early CrossFitters poked fun on the belief that with photography of a comic strip character named “Uncle Rhabdo” who’s linked to clinical tools along with his kidneys falling out. One other informal mascot of the tag used to be Pukey, a clownlike character paying tribute to CrossFit’s tendency to assemble athletes work so laborious they’d vomit (assembly Pukey, in the parlance).
The company has grown real into a fitness enormous with a cult-esteem following, bigger than 15,000 gyms worldwide, and three critical revenue streams: its affiliate gyms, its seminars, and its partnership with Reebok. CrossFit’s gyms — which, counting on how long previously they started their affiliation, pay CrossFit between $500 and $Three,000 a year to license the tag title — can even be realized in each set from Greenland (CrossFit Inua) and Novosibirsk, Siberia (CrossFit Husky), to the South Pacific island of Vanuatu (CrossFit FMTG).
In uncover to call itself a CrossFit gym, no longer no longer up to 1 coach must dangle performed the elemental CrossFit “Level 1” training program. The route prices about $1,000 to extinguish. In accordance with the CrossFit LinkedIn page, there are roughly 95,000 Level 1 certified trainers worldwide.
Reebok’s 10-year partnership with Reebok, which launched in 2011, is one amongst several partnerships between CrossFit and critical athletic brands. The deal is rumored to be valued at $a hundred million.
The CrossFit spokesperson instructed Industrial Insider he might maybe well also no longer confirm the full cost of the deal, however that Glassman had indicated to Reebok that he wasn’t attracted to renewing the partnership old to recent occasions. Reebok failed to straight away reply to Industrial Insider’s seek knowledge from for statement.
At the pinnacle of this sprawling community used to be, unless very goal no longer too long previously, Glassman. Despite stepping down as CEO, he stays the sole real proprietor of CrossFit, the corporate confirmed to Industrial Insider.
Jenai instructed Industrial Insider that as the corporate received money and vitality, the man she married started to alternate. The couple started the route of of divorce in March 2010, and in 2012, Glassman officially equipped out Jenai’s shares and changed into a hundred% proprietor of CrossFit.
“Greg can even be very narcissistic — if issues are no longer going his plan, he can even be vile,” Jenai talked about. “And a day later, he can even be tickled-streak-fortunate and gentle-hearted. He’ll win loud and exercise aggressive language and unsafe language.”
Celebrity Culture: ‘Receives a commission to work out and shuffle and hang out’
To many frail HQ workers, Glassman used to be an enigma. Most of them generally ever seen him in the set of enterprise or interacted with him individually, but they portray him as a personable, charismatic, and revolutionary settle on who used to be persistently combating battles.
In conversations with Industrial Insider, frail workers described the corporate’s critical set of enterprise in Scotts Valley, California, as having a laid-help vibe. Staffers talked about they introduced their canines to work, cruised right during the set of enterprise on scooters and skateboards equipped by the corporate, and worked out collectively in the gym downstairs. There used to be a keg in the set of enterprise and a few workers would grab “birthday photography” collectively.
“It used to be factual very relaxed; with the gym there, it felt esteem a mini dwelling-away-from-dwelling,” Marquez talked about.
A frail director who worked at HQ instructed Industrial Insider that the compensation for workforce used to be well above expected market charges. “I was paid in actual fact well and a lot of of us didn’t carry out a lot of labor,” the frail director talked about. “It used to be a cake stroll, you win paid to work out and shuffle and hang out.”
And so were the perks: Somebody who worked at HQ had clout among athletes, fans, and gym owners, and would generally be treated to issues esteem free gym entry or invitations to occasions. One day, Glassman handed out iPads to whichever staffers took set to be on the set of enterprise that day, in accordance to Heber Cannon, a video producer at CrossFit HQ from 2010 to 2018, when he used to be laid off along with the extensive majority of the media division.
“When you happen to were segment of Greg’s entourage, it used to be esteem celeb station in the CrossFit community,” the frail director talked about.
After a seminar, Glassman would generally address the affiliate gym owners and team and seminar team — generally between 15 and Seventy five americans — to a admire dinner with unlimited foods and drinks, in accordance to 1 frail high-rating employee.
“When you happen to were segment of Greg’s entourage, it used to be esteem celeb station in the CrossFit community,” the frail director talked about.
Celebrity Culture: A history of verbal retaliation
But below the easygoing veneer used to be an environment that will well also very well be poisonous, in accordance to some frail workers.
One CrossFit athlete and frail seminar staffer instructed Industrial Insider the tradition is one where americans can quick activate every diversified.
“The CrossFit tradition is so cult-esteem in the sense that you for trudge carry out in actual fact feel esteem you’ve got a family and a condo and americans that are having a look out for you,” the athlete talked about. “But you would win exiled quick. They’ll damage your fame. You win blacklisted.”
In one 2019 incident, a CrossFit affiliate gym proprietor in Kansas posted on a private Fb community for affiliate owners expressing his disillusionment with the tag.
Glassman replied straight to the gym proprietor in an email that started with the phrase, “Let’s extinguish your affiliation.” Screenshots of the email were broadly shared among the many affiliate community, and “let’s extinguish your affiliation” changed into an internal humorous yarn in accordance to somebody with a complaint about the corporate, in accordance to 1 frail affiliate proprietor.
The CEO has been idea by some affiliations, frail workers, and longtime CrossFit members to dangle retaliated towards criticisms of his company or methodology. Incidents of backlash were dubbed “Glassassinations” by some early members of the community, however examples equipped to Industrial Insider stretch help from 2006 up through June 2020.
Incidents of backlash were dubbed “Glassassinations” by some early members of the community.
On June 5 — ultimately sooner than Glassman’s “Or no longer it is FLOYD-19” tweet — Alyssa Royse, the proprietor of a CrossFit affiliate gym in Seattle, bought a firsthand taste of Glassman lashing out. Consistent with Royse announcing her gym would no longer renew its affiliation with CrossFit over concerns about CrossFit’s silence on Floyd’s dying, Glassman wrote to her that “quarantine has adversely impacted [her] psychological well being.”
In a scathing email Royse published on her gym’s blog — which used to be later obtained in full by Industrial Insider — Glassman went on to call Royse “delusional” and a “sh—-y person” (redaction ours) and talked about he used to be “ashamed” of her.
In a cell phone call with Industrial Insider, Royse talked about she used to be “afraid” by Glassman’s email.
“I had heard reviews of responses esteem this — or no longer it is a ingredient americans talked about however I had by no plan viewed it myself,” Royse talked about.
A frail athlete who ran a CrossFit blog in the early 2010s equally well-known that if americans spoke out towards one thing Glassman talked about on the CrossFit forum, the CEO would “rip into them.”
In one execrable instance from 2006, Glassman (who posted as “Coach” in the CrossFit forum) centered Josh Hillis, a member of the community, for reportedly making disparaging feedback about Glassman in a single other message board. Two frail team members, including Jenai, who helped urge the forum and would post as “Lauren,” confirmed Glassman on a customary foundation posted as “Coach.”
“I assault the character of americans for being unethical sh-tbags,” Glassman wrote in a series of posts on the beneficial CrossFit web position forum. “Now we dangle a treatment for accidents right here at CrossFit called STFU. Or no longer it is your turn to grab some.”
The CrossFit spokesperson declined to statement on the allegations of verbal retaliation.
Celebrity Culture: Some workers paint the image of a misogynistic office
Just a few frail staffers claimed there used to be a misogynistic office, on the core of which used to be Glassman himself.
In July 2015, whereas sitting in his private field on the StubHub Heart in Carson, California, on the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games, Glassman referred to CrossFit’s factual team — which consisted fully of females, establish for chief counsel — as his “community of hot authorized beneficial chicks” in entrance of industry mates from Reebok and CrossFit staffers, in accordance to 1 frail employee in the IT division who used to be in the sphere.
Per three frail HQ staffers, the WiFi password at CrossFit’s set of enterprise in Solana Seaside and at Glassman’s dwelling out of doorways of Santa Cruz, where he most continuously hosted workers, used to be “wetp—y.”
“I will have the ability to not depend the series of times that derogatory and particularly sexual feedback were made about female team members straight in my presence,” Andy Stumpf, a frail Navy Seal and CrossFit HQ staffer from 2007 to 2014, talked about on his podcast, “Cleared Hot,” on June 12 about Glassman and the corporate.
One frail female member of teaching team described the set of enterprise as having a “frat occasion” environment of ingesting.
“I felt compelled on legend of Greg would living the tone and ought to you were going to glide with us, you did what he did,” she talked about. “Who says no to Greg? That used to be the enviornment he created.”
CrossFit didn’t dangle a human sources division unless 2013, in accordance to a frail employee in the IT division.
“The HR director started seeking to impose HR principles in a company where drawing penises on the full thing used to be … customary,” the frail IT employee instructed Industrial Insider.
The HR director, who left CrossFit in January 2020, in accordance to LinkedIn, failed to straight away reply to Industrial Insider’s seek knowledge from for statement.
The CrossFit spokesperson declined to statement on CrossFit’s office tradition.
Celebrity Culture: Sources claim Glassman employed females he realized lustrous
Eight frail workers, including Andy Stumpf, who spoke to Industrial Insider claimed that fraternization used to be general on the corporate, every for the length of the senior CrossFit team member circle and between senior team members, the leisure of team, and seminar staffers.
Just a few frail staffers talked about Glassman had a multi-year affair with an employee that started whereas he used to be married to Jenai and persisted after his marriage ended. Jenai instructed Industrial Insider that Glassman had an affair with an employee whereas married to her. Three frail staffers, including Stumpf, also claimed that Glassman used to be all in favour of no longer no longer up to 1 diversified relationship with one other employee.
A spokesperson for CrossFit confirmed to Industrial Insider that Glassman used to be all in favour of a relationship with one employee right through and after his marriage, however talked about the corporate might maybe well also no longer confirm the existence of the diversified relationship.
“The tradition of the corporate used to be very sexualized, you had a bunch of in actual fact lustrous americans working collectively and dealing out collectively. Of us’s bodies are talked about the full time,
“The tradition of the corporate used to be very sexualized, you had a bunch of in actual fact lustrous americans working collectively and dealing out collectively.
” Jenai talked about, announcing that that environment applied to every men and females.
As one frail senior staffer put it, “You win a lot of americans that are in actual fact into their bodies and they also’re going to must exercise them in varied ways.”
On industry trips, female staffers would most continuously be booked in the an identical resort room or even in private homes with Glassman or diversified senior male staffers, in accordance to three frail staffers, including Stumpf.
“It used to be an open secret as to who used to be potentially in the sexual crosshairs for Greg,” Stumpf talked about on his podcast. “Whether that manifested for melancholy shuffle arrangements, for female staffers with Greg, [it was] one resort room booked.”
Some frail staffers portray a office in which Glassman outdated-long-established his authority to hire females he realized lustrous.
“Rumor used to be ought to you were a spirited girl to Greg and he seen hobby in you, he would give you a job,” one frail HQ employee instructed Industrial Insider. “That used to be esteem his ingredient. … When you happen to were in his crosshairs, one amongst the ways he would try to manipulate is by giving you a job. ‘You wanna work for CrossFit? I for trudge dangle that vitality’ roughly scenario.”
Quiana Welch, a weightlifter and frail HQ staffer, talked about she used to be equipped a job at CrossFit after Glassman approached her in a CrossFit gym in New York Metropolis in 2013. Welch moved to Santa Cruz for the job, however she talked about it wasn’t certain what her job entailed even after she started.
“I in actual fact wasn’t given a train job to carry out,” she talked about. “Every so continually I’d factual inquire of of, esteem, what carry out I ought to be doing?”
After two or three months, Welch says she used to be laid off along with several diversified workers in the autumn of 2013. Welch instructed Industrial Insider that she persistently puzzled why Glassman had equipped her a job.
“That is a quiz I persistently had,” she talked about. “Was it likely factual on legend of I was lustrous and likely he idea, I assemble no longer know, likely it used to be tremendous to dangle my face in there? I’m no longer in actual fact certain to on this closing date.”
Celebrity Culture: A brand recent CEO for CrossFit doesn’t essentially mean a alternate in company tradition
Whereas 1,4 hundred gyms are reportedly ultimately of of disaffiliating, the overwhelming majority stay under the tag’s umbrella. And several other of the americans Industrial Insider spoke to stand by the frail CEO.
Gym proprietor and coach Greg Amundson, who’s been eager with CrossFit since December 2001, talked about he continues to strengthen the corporate. “As a tag, CrossFit used to be based on character, heart, and merit essentially based achievement. Twenty years after my first exercise, this aloof holds factual,” he instructed Industrial Insider through email.
In a June 15 email addressed to CrossFit Chief Financial Officer Matt Holdsworth and obtained by Industrial Insider, Glassman’s ex-wife and CrossFit cofounder Lauren Jenai equipped to bewitch the corporate for $50 million.
Jenai talked about she used to be approached on June eleven by an investor, whom she declined to title, offering her financial backing to bewitch the corporate.
On Jenai’s provide to bewitch the corporate, CrossFit’s spokesperson talked about, “There might maybe be a collective effort right here to devalue the corporate to bewitch it for quite a bit no longer up to what or no longer it is rate.” Jenai instructed Industrial Insider the provide used to be to “salvage” the corporate, no longer devalue it.
Per the corporate spokesperson, Dave Castro, director of the CrossFit Games and codirector of training, has taken over the extinguish seat in the corporate. But even with recent leadership, extra than one gym owners and frail staffers instructed Industrial Insider that they assemble no longer request CrossFit’s tradition to alternate.
“He is in Greg’s pocket,” one CrossFit athlete and frail seminar staffer instructed Industrial Insider of Castro. “He is going to carry out regardless of Greg says.” The CrossFit spokesperson disputed that statement, pointing to Castro’s advent of a recent affiliate representative program that he says will facilitate conversation between mates and CrossFit, Inc.
A frail affiliate gym proprietor, who has disaffiliated since Glassman’s tweet, pointed to the broader company tradition, noting, “Things esteem this assemble no longer happen in a vacuum.”
As for the tweet that living it all off? As of June 20, Glassman aloof hadn’t deleted it.