CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman announced that he is stepping down following backlash over his insensitive remarks about the death of George Floyd.
Glassman’s statement saying that he intends to retire came shortly after BuzzFeed News published an article detailing a Zoom call in which Glassman told gym owners and staffers that “We’re not mourning” Floyd’s death.
The call was held on Saturday, hours before Glassman fired off an insensitive tweet about Floyd, sparking a quick backlash, with critics accusing Glassman of racism and saying he made light of Floyd’s police-involved death.
“On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members,” Glassman said in a statement announcing his retirement.
“I cannot let my behavior stand in the way of HQ’s or affiliates’ missions. They are too important to jeopardize.”
On the 75-minute call, obtained by Buzzfeed News, a CrossFit affiliate owner in Minneapolis questioned Glassman about why the brand hadn’t posted a statement regarding the anti-police brutality protests sparked by Floyd’s death.
“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,” Glassman responded, according to the outlet.
“We’re not mourning for George Floyd — I don’t think me or any of my staff are,” he said.
During the call, with 16 affiliates and staff members, Glassman questioned whether systemic racism existed and interrogated the motives of protesters around the country, according to the outlet.
“I doubt very much that they’re mourning for Floyd,” Glassman reportedly said.
He also apparently floated baseless conspiracy theories about Floyd’s death — and about the coronavirus, trashing epidemiology as “a social science.”
“The Chinese let this virus get out of the laboratory, and that indeed did happen,” he reportedly said, despite US intelligence officials saying they had not concluded the virus emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Glassman also said upstate New Yorkers should secede from the rest of the state due to the Big Apple’s strict lockdown measures — and urged gym owners to only pretend to comply with health mandates when they reopen.
Hours after the call, Glassman responded “It’s FLOYD-19? to a tweet from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation calling racism and discrimination “critical public health issues.”
The tweet sparked a furor that included Reebook announcing it would end its partnership with CrossFit HQ, and some of the company’s 15,000 affiliates said they were cutting ties.
CrossFit apologized on Sunday, calling Glassman’s words “not racist but a mistake.”
“Floyd is a hero in the black community and not just a victim,” Glassman said in a statement. “I should have been sensitive to that and wasn’t. I apologize for that.”
Glassman and CrossFit reps did not respond to Buzzfeed’s requests for comment about the call.
Is it just us, or did the idea of CrossFit and associated gyms always feel a little…anti-Black?