Talk about negative spin.
A dream gig and breakout role for one aspiring actor has turned into a PR nightmare.
We’re talking about the “Peloton husband,” or the man in the almost universally-reviled Peloton holiday 2019 ad who buys his wife a $2,000 exercise bike for Christmas.
The 30-second clip sees the woman — already skinny to begin with — documenting her year-long fitness journey in selfie mode, before playing a compilation of her workout videos for her husband. The woman appears anxious throughout the ad, including when she looks up at her man for approval at the end.
But the “Peloton husband” is actually an aspiring actor and elementary school teacher named Sean Hunter, who lives in Vancouver, Canada. And now he’s afraid that his big break may break both of his careers.
He tells Psychology Today that while the commercial was well-received by his friends and family at first, they began backpedaling once the backlash hit the fan.
“A few comments from my friends came in and the overall consensus was that it was awesome, one even mentioning, ‘I always knew you would make the big time,’” he says. “But a few days ago, that all changed.”
As the commercial racked up several thousand “thumbs down” votes, and social media and news outlets began criticizing the video, he says that his friends suddenly grew silent. Well, except for the one that texted him to say that he’d become “a symbol of the patriarchy.” He’s also become a meme.
“My 5 seconds of air time created an array of malicious feedback that is all associated with my face.
Many of the complaints against the ad targeted his character in particular, such as one viral tweet that said, “Absolutely 100% chance that the husband in the Peloton ad is abusive.”
Vice writer Katie Way added, “She would rather be anywhere else in the world than here, in her glacial home with the husband she loathes.”
Filming the commercial had been “a wonderful time,” Hunter said, and his acting coach gave him positive notes for his performance — but now he fears the repercussions from becoming one of the two faces of the ad.
“I currently sit here hoping that I’ll be able to continue auditioning for commercials without any taint, and that if my students happen to find the commercial and recognize me, they won’t think about me any different than they already know me,” he says. “If recognized on the street, what will people’s first opinions be of me?”
But he recognizes that the actress who played his wife probably has it worse. “I reflect on what my co-actor must be dealing with, as she’s the other 25 seconds of the story,” he says.