Crossfit Fires Executive Over Pride Month Tweets

By: Jared Humphers

Popular workout business, Crossfit, has fired an executive officer, Russell Berger, after he tweeted his support of a Pride Month event at an Indianapolis Crossfit gym being cancelled.

The controversy started when the Indianapolis gym cancelled a workout that was planned in support of Pride Month, which is observed every June. The management explained in an email to the gym’s members, “the owners of the gym value health and wellness, and they believe that this event does not.”

Members and coaches alike were very vocal about the move and one reached out for further explanation, to which the management replied:

“Our underlying goal for the staff and members at CrossFit Infiltrate and our other gyms CrossFit White River and University Ave CrossFit, is total health and well-being for the individual and the community. 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. 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.”

Following this, many members, staff, and coaches quit the gym, and upon further review, Crossfit Infiltrate (the full name of the business) posted this letter on the Indy location, saying that the location has been terminated and will no longer operate.

The firing of Berger takes place right after this, after he tweeted several now-deleted tweets in support of the cancellation of the event. He said,

“Thank you #CrossFitInfiltrate for standing by your convictions and refusing to celebrate sin by hosting an @indypride workout. The intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views is mind-blowing. #CrossFit”

Berger later followed up the tweet with more controversy, saying, “The tactics of some in the LGBTQ movement towards dissent is an existential threat to freedom of expression. The lack of tolerance for disagreement, which has been replaced with bullying Twitter mobs promising “consequences,” should be a concern regardless of your political stance.”

BuzzFeed News reached out to Crossfit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman. He told them that he found Berger’s views appalling and added, “I am crazy proud of the gay community in CrossFit.” After saying Berger should “shut up” in a crass way, he reiterated his stance on Berger’s tweets. “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.” [1]

Upon his termination, Berger, who is a pastor in Alabama, released a statement expressing his regret, not at his tweets, but for the “ordeal” he caused his company and employers.