Not long ago, a Peloton stationary bike commercial aired which featured a woman who had been gifted a Peloton for Christmas by her husband. Outrage soared throughout the internet on whether it was appropriate to be given such things or to imply that his wife needed to lose weight.
Since then, Monica Ruiz, the wife in the commercial, has moved on to other acting gigs starring in Ryan Reynold's Aviation American Gin commercial and is slated to appear in the soap opera, The Bold and Beautiful. For her, it appears this commercial acted as a springboard for her career.
As for the husband? Things have been a bit rougher on him since the advertisement first aired on television.
An Array of Malicious Feedback
Sean Hunter, who played the husband in the Peloton commercial, is dealing with anxiety and apprehension due to keyboard warriors who have unapologetically attacked him for portraying the character deemed 'sexist' and 'misogynistic'.
For Hunter, it's an issue that he believes is going to affect his career, moving forward. When he's not acting, he's a school teacher and unfortunately, he's even having to defend himself while at work. In speaking with Psychology Today, Hunter shared that initially, the reviews of the commercial were positive. Only after is went viral did the hateful language emerge.
"My 5 seconds of air time created an array of malicious feedback that is all associated with my face," Hunter lamented. "My friend texted me today declaring that I’m ‘a symbol of the patriarchy' ... As my face continues to be screenshot online, I wonder what repercussions will come back to me."
Grappling with Negative Opinions
Even though Hunter was simply an actor in the commercial, he's been "grappling with the negative opinions as none of them have been constructively helpful." The harmful feedback that he has received appears to be doing quite the number on his psyche.
"As I continue to reflect on the commercial, I consider these thoughts: Why are people creating so many additional narratives to the story? Am I allowed to view the commercial positively after receiving such negative feedback? If recognized on the street, what will people’s first opinions be of me?" he said.
Hunter also wondered if his wife in the commercial, Monica Ruiz, was suffering through the same plight. We know now that she is most definitely not, using the role to land other acting gigs.
It's an unfortunate consequence of today's society, where an innocent actor is attacked for a seemingly benevolent television commercial that they had no role in writing. Peloton, themselves, claimed that they didn't see anything wrong with the advertisement and continued to air it, only further fanning the flames of dissent amongst viewers.
If there's any silver lining that Hunter is able to salvage from this PR nightmare, it's that he did land a role in a big-time commercial that garnered a lot of attention. And like all other controversies, this one will die down, too, in time.
If At First You Dont Succeed...
Although Hunter has had to deal with a host of malicious feedback, he might have had the last laugh in the saga. Just recently for Christmas, he purchased a stationary exercise bike for his real-life girlfriend, Cassidy Baras. And yes, it was a Peloton bike.
Baras seems to have really enjoyed getting the gift, but Hunter made sure to poke fun at his significant other staying within him, despite the purchase, captioning the post with, "Here's hoping this goes over better the second time ... Merry Christmas to my actual girlfriend (pls don't leave me)."
This, of course, is a nod to the notion that his 'commercial wife' left him because he insinuated she needed to lose weight. At least he's able to find something comical in this whole ordeal and make light of the situation.