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Pedal pusher: ‘Peloton husband’ gives real-life girlfriend an exercise bike for Christmas

December 30, 2019

Some people just love “feeling the burn”—even if that extends beyond muscles to public opinion. In fact, the much-maligned Peloton Husband featured in the company’s polarizing holiday commercial isn’t back-pedaling on his choice of gift, according to a report by The Chicago Tribune/TNS.

After he was skewered for inflicting the Peloton bike on his reluctant-seeming “wife” in the viral ad—which attracted widespread criticism for being sexist and culturally insensitive—on Christmas Day, he gave his real-life girlfriend one of the exercise bikes.

“Here’s hoping this goes over better the second time. … Merry Christmas to my actual girlfriend (pls don’t leave me),” actor Sean Hunter, a.k.a. @pelotonhusband, wrote Wednesdaym, December 25, on Instagram—sharing a picture of himself and his girlfriend posing with the pricey bike.

The Vancouver, Canada-based elementary school teacher defended himself in Psychology Today when the ad went viral and he and his costar, Monica Ruiz, were roasted on social media.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. 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 said. “As my face continues to be screen shot online, I wonder what repercussions will come back to me.”

Only some of that criticism cycled back after his Christmas Day reveal, with feedback calling out the real-life gift as a Peloton-backed publicity stunt and others praising his levity for bringing the narrative full circle.

Although Peloton defended the “The Gift That Gives Back” spot as a way “to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey,” the company said it was “disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial.”

On Thursday, however, it endorsed Hunter’s gifting idea, commenting on his post, “Looks like a successful Christmas gift to us! We hope you love it, and we’re so glad you’re a part of the Peloton family!”

Meanwhile, Ruiz blamed her brief but nervous smile in the ad for kick-starting the controversy earlier this month. “I think it was my fault. My eyebrows looked worried, I guess?” Ruiz said on the “Today” show.  “People were like, ‘She looks scared!'” she said, laughing. “I’m telling you, it was my face. That was the problem. And it just exploded from there.”

Ruiz fared a little better than her costar did amid the backlash. The actress was commissioned by Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin company for a follow-up ad spoofing her Peloton appearance and has landed a gig on CBS’ daytime drama  The Bold and the Beautiful.

Research contact: @chicagotribune