Peloton says encouraged by some support despite Christmas ad criticism

Peloton Christmas ad tagged 'sexist' on social media

Peloton Christmas ad tagged 'sexist' on social media

Shares of the company fell about 5% in afternoon trading.

The backlash to Peloton's holiday ad, which features a young woman filming herself working out over a year after being given a Peloton bike, reached a breaking point this week, as it struck some viewers as confusing, sexist, and classist.

While the ad debuted nearly a month ago, the online ridicule toward it hit fever pitch this week as headlines entreated readers to "please help the woman from Peloton's bad new ad" and Twitter users slammed it for apparent sexism and body shaming. If there's any question of whether the recipient absolutely wants the product, the criticism suggests, the gift may be construed not as a thoughtful token, but as an underhanded way of suggesting they need to lose weight, or at least work out more.

Comedian and writer Jess Dweck compared the advertisement, which has been viewed more than 2 million times on YouTube, with an episode of Netflix's dystopian anthology series Black Mirror.

"This was just a clueless mistake that social media is going to rip you apart over", said Eric Schiffer, chief executive officer of Patriarch Organization, a Los Angeles-based private-equity firm.

Refinitiv's Eikon Social Media Monitor showed sentiment towards Peloton turned negative on Tuesday, having been firmly positive in the past couple of months.

Founded in 2012, Peloton sells indoor exercise bicycles and offers packages requiring memberships to access live and on-demand classes from home.

"We constantly hear from our members how their lives have been meaningfully and positively impacted after purchasing or being gifted a Peloton Bike or Tread, often in ways that surprise them", a spokesperson for the high-end stationary bicycle-maker said in a statement Wednesday, as first reported by CNBC.

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