Gyms in Canada are cutting ties with CrossFit after CEO's insensitive George Floyd tweet
CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman has stepped down following an insensitive Tweet regarding George Floyd that sparked an uproar across Canada, the United States and beyond.
On Saturday, Glassman replied to a Tweet from the U.S. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that read, "Racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response."
"It's FLOYD-19," Glassman tweeted.
It's FLOYD-19.— Greg Glassman (@CrossFitCEO) June 6, 2020
Glassman's comment fueled international outrage, with many people calling for CrossFit locations in Canada to scrap any affiliation with the California-based brand.
The calls were only intensified after Buzzfeed posted a Zoom call in which Glassman reportedly told some CrossFit affiliates: "We're not mourning for George Floyd — I don't think me or any of my staff are."
On Sunday, Glassman took to the company's Twitter account to apologize for his words.
"I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake," Glassman wrote, adding that Floyd is a "hero in the black community."
Floyd is a hero in the black community and not just a victim. I should have been sensitive to that and wasn't. I apologize for that. I was trying to stick it to the @IHME_UW for their invalidated models resulting in needless, economy-wrecking, life-wrecking lockdown,— CrossFit (@CrossFit) June 8, 2020
But for many Canadian CrossFit locations, the apology was inadequate and the damage was already done. Now, many places are rushing to sever ties with the American fitness brand.
Some 1,250 gyms across the world have now disaffiliated with CrossFit, according to industry blog Morning Chalk Up.
CrossFit 416 in Toronto is one of them.
On Tuesday, owner Dan Visentin announced the gym's disaffiliation with the CrossFit brand in a statement titled A Time For Change, writing that the gym's ethos is based on "equality, unity, and is 100 per cent free of racism and prejudice."
Visentin says that after speaking with staff, members and other gym owners in the community — including Black gym owners — he felt that the decision to step away from CrossFit was right.
"Making a stand for social justice, and solidarity against racism is something that we expect and require [from] those we align ourselves with," Visentin wrote. "We will now blaze our own trail."
The gym said on social media that it has made a collective donation to "stand with the BIPOC members" of their community.
Like 416, CrossFit Toronto has also decided to drop all CrossFit branding following Glassman's comment.
"We started CrossFit Toronto 15 years ago with the express goal of helping as many people as we could by sharing a powerful, transformative training method," the gym wrote on their former website.
"However, our time with the CrossFit brand has come to an end."
The gym has pledged to donate all fees that it would normally pay to CrossFit and donate them instead to the Black Health Alliance "in perpetuity."
In Vancouver, CrossFit 604 — now simply 604 — has also cut ties with the American brand.
In a statement, the gym said that CrossFit is a "welcoming, caring and inclusive community" but that it cannot stand behind Glassman's insensitive comment.
"We would never stand for that kind of behaviour in our gym and will not align ourselves with a brand that behaves with such disregard for people," the gym wrote.
CrossFit locations in Winnipeg, Kingston, Ont. and Revelstoke, B.C. have also hastily rebranded and severed ties with CrossFit following Glassman's comment.
"We are proud of our community both locally and globally," the former Revelstoke CrossFit gym wrote. "We are not proud of the leadership from Greg [Glassman]."
According to the CrossFit website, gyms must pay a yearly fee of $3,000 to be affiliated with the brand, which allows gyms to use the CrossFit name, logo and promotional materials.
Former Director of CrossFit Games Dave Castro will replace Glassman as CEO of CrossFit, effective immediately.
"I'm honored to take on the role of CEO of CrossFit, Inc," Castro said in a statement on Tuesday. "I hope to do right by affiliates, trainers, athletes, and other members of the CrossFit community around the world and never lose sight of the mission Greg established for us all."
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