Peloton revealed its Christmas ad in November 2019. At first glance, the advertisement doesn’t seem to be anything special. It tells the tale of a woman’s journey towards fitness after her partner gives her the bike as a gift. The ad supposedly chronicles a year-long journey. It seems pretty basic, that is until the internet took a closer look and began calling Peloton out as sexist. The company has stood by the advertisement, and now the actress who appears in the ad, Monica Ruiz, is speaking out. In fact, Ruiz is taking the blame for the commercial’s poor reception.
Why is the Peloton ad so controversial?
Shortly after the ad premiered, television viewers took to the internet to discuss the contents of the 30-second spot. The chatter was not positive. The New York Times notes that many users found the commercial sexist and elitist. It wasn’t just the $2,500 price tag attached to the gift that ruffled feathers, either.
Social media users note that not only is the woman in the ad already fit and healthy, but the commercial has some disturbing undertones. Many believe the ad suggested that the lady of the house needed to change to appease her partner. Within days of the commercial going live, there were parodies. Peloton has stood by their ad decision. They have chosen not to pull the video from the airwaves.
Ruiz blames herself for the backlash
Ruiz sat down with Hoda Kotb on Today to discuss the backlash regarding the commercial. She told Kotb that she honestly believes it was her face that created the real controversy. Drilling down further, Ruiz claims her eyebrows gave the wrong impression to viewers.
In theory, the ad called for Ruiz to look concerned. She was supposed to be apprehensive about the journey towards healthful living she was embarking on. Peloton surely meant for the worried expression to give way to feelings of joy and success. Telling the story of a year-long trip in just a 30-second ad spot is no easy task, and it would appear as though Peloton failed.
The vibe that was intended and the one that was portrayed were not the same. Critics quickly jumped on Peloton for an ad that they considered sexist, claiming Ruiz appeared almost fearful of her commercial partner.
“The Peloton Husband” has also spoken out about the experience
Sean Hunter, who played the Peloton husband in the highly debated commercial, has spoken out about the advertisement, too. While Ruiz’s assessment of the ad almost endeared her to audiences, Hunter’s statements about the situation have done little to shore up his image. He remains utterly oblivious to the sexist undertones, it would seem.
While Hunter claims he is neither sexist nor elitist, he stands by the ad and alleges none of the criticism has been constructive, according to Psychology Today. Hunter is concerned about how his involvement will affect his future, claiming people can’t differentiate between the actor and the person. Ruiz has already received further commercial work from the spot, appearing in an ad for a gin company owned by Ryan Reynolds.
Hunter had precisely one line in the entire video and appeared much more briefly than Ruiz. He, apparently, still views the ad positively, even after the collective internet has raised serious concerns about its undertones. Hunter told Today that he simply doesn’t “see it” regarding the sexism of the ad, according to Fox Business.