Some people just love feeling the burn.
The much-maligned Peloton Husband featured in the company’s polarizing holiday commercial pedaled back into the spotlight on Christmas Day by gifting his real-life girlfriend one of the exercise bikes. This after he was skewered for inflicting the machine on his reluctant-seeming “wife"in the viral ad, which spun up criticism for being sexist and culturally insensitive.
“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 Wednesday on Instagram, sharing a picture of himself and his girlfriend posing with the pricey bike.
It’s a bold move from a guy whose reaction was poorly received in the wake of the bike brouhaha earlier this month.
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 5 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!”
It’s definitely a change of pace for Hunter, who on “Good Morning America” said, “People turned down a pretty dark path and it turned into a nasty thing. Once something goes viral ... people jump on that negative bandwagon and start to create any dialogue they want.”
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.”