The ‘Peloton husband’ who landed a role in a commercial that has been denounced as sexist toward women is speaking out.
Sean Hunter, a Canadian actor and elementary school teacher, described the shock of being thrust in the center of a social media firestorm.
He also says he is worried that the viral backlash will damage his fledgling acting career as well as his status as a teacher.
‘I currently sit here hoping that I’ll be able to continue auditioning for commercials without any taint, and that if my students happen to find the commercial and recognize me, they won’t think about me any different than they already know me,’ Hunter told Psychology Today.
He was asked to give his perspective after harsh criticisms were leveled against him on social media in response to the ad.
Sean Hunter (left) plays the husband in the controversial ad for Peloton which has sparked a massive backlash on social media
The newly released advert promoting a Peloton exercise bike has been slammed by social media users who claim it is disrespectful and sexist
Peloton released the advert online in November which shows a man giving his wife one of the company’s exercise bikes for Christmas while she gasps in shock
Peloton, the exercise equipment company, was vilified on Monday over the commercial titled ‘The Gift That Gives Back’, which shows a woman receiving a stationary bike from her husband, played by Hunter, on Christmas morning.
She then documents her year-long fitness journey in a series of selfie clips that she compiles into a thank you video for her husband.
Hunter, seen in a photo by Riafilmm, described the shock of being thrust in the center of a social media firestorm
Viewers trashed the ad on Twitter, calling it sexist, misogynistic, humiliating and cringeworthy. Hunter who stars in the ad is seen above
The woman’s already-svelte figure before she receives the bike is virtually unchanged a year after.
Viewers trashed the ad on Twitter, calling it sexist, misogynistic, humiliating and cringeworthy.
Peloton Interactive Inc’s stock fell 9.12 percent on Tuesday, and analysts attributed the drop to negative publicity over the ad.
On Thursday, shares of the company fell once again, this time by 5 per cent. At the close of trading on Wall Street, Peloton stock was at $31.31 per share.
Before the controversy erupted on Monday, shares of Peloton were selling at slightly below $37.
In his comments to Psychology Today, Hunter says that overall reaction from his friends to the ad was overwhelmingly positive when the ad was first unveiled.
The commercial shows the woman recording her workouts throughout the year in a video that she makes to thank her husband for the gift which social media users have branded insulting and sexist
Vice also declared that the ‘Peloton advert woman is absolutely not okay’
Twitter users descended on to the site in a frenzy to show their disdain for the advert
‘I always knew you would make the big time,’ he says was told by one of his friends.
‘I appreciated the compliments, but in my eyes it was just a small role,’ he says.
‘I was simply grateful for the experience.’
Hunter, whose IMDB page indicates that his most notable role was on the Fox show Lucifer, then says: ‘But a few days ago, that all changed.
‘Reviews from my friends stopped as the video went viral.
‘I soon noticed that the commercial had several thousand down votes as the tweets came out and talk shows weighed in.’
Hunter cited a number of viral tweets, including one which said that there’s ‘absolutely [a] 100% chance that the husband in the Peloton ad is abusive.’
Other tweets denouncing the ad as sexist also began to make an impact on Hunter.
‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,’ he says.
Hunter’s IMDB page indicates that his most notable role was on the Fox show Lucifer
Hunter took issue with one tweet criticizing the acting in the commercial as ‘overdramatic’ and ‘corny,’ saying: ‘It’s really hard to improve when all feedback goes against any type of growth’
‘My five seconds of air time created an array of malicious feedback that is all associated with my face.
‘My friend texted me today declaring that I’m “a symbol of the patriarchy”.’
Hunter says being associated with the commercial has him ‘wonder[ing] what repercussions will come back to me.’
‘I pride myself on being a great teacher and developing actor, and I can only hope that this affects neither,’ he says.
‘I’m grappling with the negative opinions as none of them have been constructively helpful.’
Hunter also took issue with one tweet criticizing the acting in the commercial as ‘overdramatic’ and ‘corny.’
‘It’s really hard to improve when all feedback goes against any type of growth,’ he says.
Hunter says he hopes that people won’t judge him as a person based on the commercial.
Peloton has seen its share price fall as a result of the negative reaction to the ad
At the close of trading on Wall Street on Thursday, the company’s stock was down 5 per cent
‘After all, this commercial has nothing to do with my ability to teach or who I am,’ he says.
‘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 says he is now mindful of how he is perceived by the public.
‘As I continue to reflect on the commercial, I consider these thoughts: Why are people creating so many additional narratives to the story?’ he says.
‘Am I allowed to view the commercial positively after receiving such negative feedback?
‘If recognized on the street, what will people’s first opinions be of me?
‘The aftermath of the commercial has left me with more questions than answers, and this is only half the story.
‘I reflect on what my co-actor must be dealing with, as she’s the other 25 seconds of the story.’