CrossFit has fired an executive who called celebrating Pride a “sin” and congratulated an Indianapolis CrossFit gym for refusing to host a Pride-themed workout.
Trainers at CrossFit Infiltrate in Indianapolis developed a workout to celebrate Indy Pride this weekend, but when the gym owners heard about the event, they shut it down, saying in an email obtained by Fox 59 that the event goes against God’s plan for health.
“Total health involves the body, the emotions, relationships, and the spirit. At the foundational detractor from health, as we believe God sets the parameters for, is pride,” the owners wrote. “We believe that true health forever can only be found within humility, not pride. Humility is seeing oneself as they truly are, and as God truly defines them to be. As a business we will choose to deploy our resources towards those efforts and causes that line up with our own values and beliefs.”
However, members and staff revolted against the cancellation, with both the head coach and the general manager resigning from the gym and members ending their contracts, which lead to the gym closing.
Russell Berger, who called himself CrossFit’s Chief Knowledge Officer but was described by the company as a legal researcher, praised the bigotry in now-deleted tweets, calling LGBTQ pride a “sin” and encouraging the owners for “standing by their convictions.”
— Gaycey Musgayves (@ChrisDStedman) June 6, 2018
Berger was placed on administrative leave and then eventually fired from the company. Berger confirmed his termination on his personal Twitter.
The statements made today by Russell Berger do not reflect the views of CrossFit Inc. For this reason, his employment with CrossFit has been terminated.
— CrossFit (@CrossFit) June 6, 2018
CrossFit’s founder and CEO Greg Glassman was much more candid, telling Buzzfeed that Berger needed “a big dose of ‘shut the fuck up.'”
“It’s sad,” Glassman said. “We do so much good work with such pure hearts — to have some zealot in his off-time do something this stupid, we’re all upset. The whole company is upset. This changes his standing with us. What that looks like, I don’t know. It’s so unfortunate.”
Glassman also said on Twitter that he is “crazy proud of the gay community in CrossFit.”
ABC News reported that many employees and members who quit CrossFit Infiltrate moved to CrossFit Naptown, also in Indianapolis.
“We are open to all people regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender characteristics, anything like that,” said Caitlin Byczko, owner of Crossfit Naptown. “We have been very open about saying we’re welcome for people to come try out and be a part of our community and see if our community works for them.”