'We're not mourning for George Floyd': CrossFit CEO to step down after he reportedly downplayed protests condemning racial injustice, police brutality
CrossFit CEO and founder Greg Glassman questioned the existence of systemic racism and the intentions of protesters demanding justice for George Floyd in a virtual meeting with gym owners, Buzzfeed News reported. "I doubt very much that they're mourning for Floyd," Glassman said on the call. "I don't think that there's a general mourning for Floyd in any community." Glassman's remarks in the meeting came hours before he posted a controversial tweet, comparing the unrest in light of Floyd's killing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gyms, and brands like Reebok, canceled partnerships and affiliations with CrossFit in light of Glassman's response. "Floyd is a hero in the Black community and not just a victim," Glassman said in a public apology. "I should have been sensitive to that and wasn't. I apologize for that." Glassman announced later Tuesday that he would be stepping down as CEO of the popular fitness brand in light of his comments. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
CrossFit founder Greg Glassman announced he was stepping down as CEO of the popular fitness brand after facing backlash for his remarks in response to the Black Lives Matter protests and the death of George Floyd. According to a recording of the meeting obtained by BuzzFeed News, Glassman downplayed the protests demanding justice for George Floyd in a virtual meeting with affiliated gym owners. "We're not mourning for George Floyd — I don't think me or any of my staff are," Glassman said during the 75-minute Zoom meeting. In response to a Minneapolis-area gym owner's question as to why the brand hadn't posted a message in solidarity with the Floyd protesters or the Black Lives Matter movement, he said, "Can you tell me why I should mourn for him? Other than that it's the white thing to do — other than that, give me another reason." BuzzFeed reported that Glassman went on in the meeting, questioning the existence of systemic racism in the country and the motives behind the protests sparked by Floyd's death. "I doubt very much that they're mourning for Floyd," Glassman said on the call. "I don't think that there's a general mourning for Floyd in any community."
"Moved to action? Burning the city down, is that the action? Destruction of Black and minority-owned businesses, is that the action?" Glassman asked a series of questions to a Minneapolis gym owner on the call who talked about what the gym's members had been doing to help the community damaged by looting and rioting. "I would prefer a trial of a murderer rather than burning the city down," Glassman continued. "I think that the law has a better response. I think burning your city to the ground and burning a police station to the ground because a cop killed what was very likely going to be a co-conspirator in a counterfeit ring — I just don't get the burning thing." While Glassman told people on the call that "killing George was wrong," he said that he thought the city's plans to defund the police was "terrifying." "It sounds like more of the same. It sounds like punishing the cops. It sounds like blaming the police for all of the problems in blighted communities, and I don't think anything could be farther from the truth," Glassman said in the call. "Have you ever done a ride-along with cops in a rough neighborhood? You don't have to answer, but I have many, many times, and that is crazy tough work and almost all of the men and women are professionals." Glassman touted unfounded conspiracy theories about Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes while Floyd was in custody. He pointed to the connection between Floyd and Chauvin and how they both worked at the same night club for a year. "It's very interesting that George gets popped with counterfeits and who comes but the head of security from the dance club? Watch — this thing's going to turn into first-degree murder," Glassman said during the call, according to the BuzzFeed News report.
"And it's going to be because I'm predicting this — we have friends in the FBI in your neighborhood and they're of the view that this was first-degree murder, and it was to silence him over the counterfeit money," Glassman continued, iterating another unproven conspiracy theory during the call. Mike Young, who owns a gym in Morrisville, North Carolina, partnered with CrossFit and was on the call, told Buzzfeed News that he was initially excited to speak to Glassman, until the meeting turned into a "sh--show" and the CrossFit CEO touted "conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory." "My first thought was, I thought maybe I was being punked, but I knew how he was and I thought this is just batsh-- crazy," Young told Buzzfeed News. "I'm sitting there, like, my jaw is dropping. Is this happening? What is this guy saying?" "It was just surreal," Young added. Representatives from CrossFit did not immediately respond to Buzzfeed News nor Business Insider's request for comment. Hours after Glassman's remarks in the meeting, he posted a controversial response to a tweet, stating "racism is a public health issue." Glassman responded saying, "It's FLOYD-19," a play on COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. Twitter users lambasted Glassman's tweet, with some describing it as tone-deaf and insensitive. Gyms, including Young's fitness facility, and brands like Reebok, canceled partnerships and affiliations with CrossFit in light of Glassman's response. In a public apology, CrossFit wrote that Glassman's remarks were "not racist but a mistake." "Floyd is a hero in the Black community and not just a victim," Glassman said in the apology. "I should have been sensitive to that and wasn't. I apologize for that." After Buzzfeed News published its report of the Zoom meeting, Glassman announced that he would be stepping down as CEO. "I'm stepping down as CEO of CrossFit, Inc., and I have decided to retire," he said in a statement. "On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members." He added, "I cannot let my behavior stand in the way of HQ's or affiliates' missions. They are too important to jeopardize." SEE ALSO: Meet Greg Glassman, the CrossFit CEO whose comments about George Floyd torpedoed the company's relationships with brands, athletes, and gyms Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
More like this (3)
GoFundMe froze $350,000 in contributions after Black Lives Matter supporters mistakenly donated to an unaffiliated group with the same name (AAPL, GOOG, GOOGL, MSFT)
GoFundMe has frozen $350,000 in donations to a group called Black Lives Matter Foundation after BuzzFeed...GoFundMe has frozen $350,000 in donations to a group called Black Lives Matter Foundation after BuzzFeed News informed them the group is unaffiliated with the BLM movement. The foundation's founder told BuzzFeed News it has a different mission than the anti-white supremacy movement: "unity with the police department." Employees from companies including Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Dropbox, also raised over $4 million for the group through charity platform Benevity, which told Business Insider the funds have not been distributed to the group. GoFundMe and Benevity told Business Insider they're now working with donors and campaign organizers to get the funds to the right places. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Donors looking to support the global Black Lives Matter movement raised an estimated $4.35 million in June for an organization called Black Lives Matter Foundation, but most of those funds are now in limbo after BuzzFeed News discovered that the foundation is completely unaffiliated with the movement. The BLM Foundation, is based in Santa Clarita, California and was founded in 2015, BuzzFeed News reported. Robert Ray Barnes, the founder and sole paid employee of the foundation, told the outlet that the two groups have nothing to do with one another and have vastly different missions. "Our whole thing is having unity with the police department," Barnes told BuzzFeed News in a report Monday. Despite differing approaches to ending racial injustice and police brutality, their nearly identical names led many donors and supporters to give to Barnes' organization, mistakenly assuming it was associated with the global BLM movement, according to BuzzFeed. After George Floyd was killed while in police custody and donations to racial justice organizations began pouring in, individuals organized campaigns on charity sites like GoFundMe and employers offered to match donations using platforms like Benevity, and both listed BLM Foundation as a recipient option. Employees from Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Dropbox, took advantage of their company's donation-matching programs via Benevity, to raise over $4 million for BLM Foundation, according to BuzzFeed News (while Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston both listed the organization as an eligible organization in letters to employees). BuzzFeed News said none of the platforms appeared to be aware that BLM Foundation and the global BLM movement weren't connected until it contacted them, and now they've halted donations to the group and are trying to get the funds to the intended recipients. A GoFundMe spokesperson told Business Insider that the company uses the PayPal Giving Fund database to enable people to donate to causes and that it's working with PayPal to redirect funds. The spokesperson said that "180 campaigns have recently raised money for the Black Lives Matter Foundation, raising $350,000. GoFundMe placed all funds on hold and we are working with PayPal and the campaign organizers to ensure all of the money raised is transferred to the Black Lives Matter movement via their fiscal sponsor." "A number of donors have recently given to PayPal Giving Fund in support of the Black Lives Matter movement by making donations through one of our platform partners," a PayPal spokesperson told Business Insider. "We are diligently looking into the matter and working with the donors, our partners, campaign organizers, and charities involved to ensure that the funds are granted as quickly as possible." "The [$4 million in funds] mentioned in the BuzzFeed article have not been distributed to Black Lives Matter Foundation per our standard vetting and disbursement process," a Benevity spokesperson told Business Insider. "No funds will be going to the Black Lives Matter Foundation as they've been deactivated from our platform. Benevity is working closely with our clients to redirect the funds to other social justice causes," they added. The BLM movement that has gained global attention in recent weeks began as a hashtag (#BlackLivesMatter) following the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2013 and became more widely known as simply Black Lives Matter in 2014 after the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police. However, the movement's official organization, "Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc," wasn't registered as a corporation in Delaware until 2017, and its nonprofit fundraising arm is called Thousand Currents. Barnes defended his organization's name, even claiming the global BLM movement had "stolen" his name and idea according to BuzzFeed News, despite founding BLM Foundation a year after the movement gained widespread recognition. A spokesperson for the BLM movement disagreed, telling BuzzFeed News: "The Santa Clarita group is improperly using our name... We intend to call them out and follow up." Barnes did not disclose how much his foundation had raised in total and hasn't spent the funds on anything yet but said he plans to use them for community and police bonding events, according to BuzzFeed. However, the California attorney general's office sent BLM Foundation a cease and desist order for failing to properly register with its office and file annual financial reports.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why electric planes haven't taken off yet
Footage surfaced as Minneapolis reels from killing of African American man George Floyd, which created a...Footage surfaced as Minneapolis reels from killing of African American man George Floyd, which created a global outcryA video of a man in Minneapolis questioning whether several young black men were entitled to be working out in the same gym has gone viral in the latest example of apparently racist behavior aimed at African Americans going about their every day lives.The video – which spread rapidly on social media after being posted on Instagram - appears to show local businessmen Tom Austin telling a group of young black men that he would call police inside the gym at the MozAic East building in Minneapolis. Continue reading...