Earlier this week, the owners of Indianapolis CrossFit gym CrossFit Infiltrate canceled a special workout that their coaches had planned to host in support of Indy Pride, which hosts its parade this weekend. Predictably, the backlash was severe and immediate, with a “large contingent” of members canceling their memberships with the gym and several staffers leaving as well. Fox59 reports that the gym may shut down due to the exits. CrossFit Infiltrate released a rather unapologetic statement, where they pointed out that many people in fact do not call them bigots:
The unfortunate line that is being read about the gym grossly misrepresents what CrossFit Infiltrate stands for and what it believes. The majority of the reviews and statements being read about the gym largely point out that Infiltrate’s community has been incredible and welcoming and that the decision not to host an Indy Pride event is the reason we are called bigots or discriminative. However, let the history of the gym speak for itself and for the position we take in this divisive atmosphere, CrossFit Infiltrate welcomes, serves, and prioritizes training people to be fit and functional in body, mind, and spirit. It never has and never will be anything but welcoming to all human beings who live, move, and breathe in God’s world.
The entire CrossFit Infiltrate saga is, of course, gross and discriminatory, and it fits in as part of a long trend of anti-LGBTQ prejudice in this country and Indiana in particular. The story would have stopped there, but it achieved escape velocity this afternoon, when CrossFit’s Chief Knowledge Officer Russell Berger cranked the homophobia up to 11.
Despite “doubling down,” Berger has since deleted his tweets, though the rest of his Twitter feed shows that he’s obsessed with fighting against big soda and scientific studies that cast CrossFit in an unfavorable light, and fighting for bog-standard hardcore Evangelical political issues. Per his CrossFit bio, he’s worked there since 2009. Per the CrossFit Twitter account, maybe not for much longer.
It will not take a very thorough review for CrossFit brass to learn that Russell Berger is a hateful prick.
Update (8:07 p.m ET): CrossFit tells us that Berger is “not, and never has been” their Chief Knowledge Officer, but is instead a “legal researcher.” The headline has been changed to reflect the fact that he’s not an executive.
Update (June 8, 1:26 a.m. ET): A CrossFit rep has informed us that, nah, he either lied or was wrong yesterday:
I apologize for the confusion. There was a miscommunication when I was instructed to email you. Russell was, in fact, the Chief Knowledge Officer. My boss and his boss were not aware of that, since it was a relatively recent change.
Since Berger did have that fake-sounding job, we’ve restored the original headline.