If you’re lucky, you haven’t seen the Peloton Christmas ad in which a woman is gifted a stationary bike with a smart computer by her husband, and then records her weight loss journey for him via vlog. But also, watch it here, so you can understand the rest of this blog.
The advertisement is bizarre. It harvests the most frightening elements of capitalism and consumerism and packages it as a meaningful act of devotion and love for your partner. The ad was so bad that Forbes reported Peloton’s stock dropped by 10% the next day. But as bad as the ad was for the company, there is one person who is trying to find the positivity in it all: the actor who plays the Peloton husband, Sean Hunter. He’s taken all of the criticism and mockery in stride.
“As my face continues to be screen shot online, I wonder what repercussions will come back to me,” Hunter told Psychology Today. “I pride myself on being a great teacher and developing actor, and I can only hope that this affects neither. I’m grappling with the negative opinions as none of them have been constructively helpful.”
Hunter, an actor and elementary school teacher in Ontario, has received a ton of negative attention. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My 5 seconds of air time created an array of malicious feedback that is all associated with my face. My friend texted me today declaring that I’m ‘a symbol of the patriarchy,’” Hunter continued.
One Twitter user went so far as to write that “Absolutely 100% chance that the husband in the Peloton ad is abusive.” But other people were a bit more supportive. His acting coach for one, loved it. “My acting coach messaged me after seeing the video and said that I looked great,” Hunter continued over at Psychology Today. “We shared a positive discussion about my part in the commercial and her advice helped in my endeavor of becoming a better actor, as I hold her opinion highly.”
Improving his craft is not the only way he’s benefitting from the exposure. In addition to sharing his perspective with Psychology Today, he also changed Instagram handle to @pelotonhusband. It’s a spicy addition to a social media profile that is largely dedicated to carefully selected professional photos. As much as the criticism surely stings, Hunter has doubtlessly recognized an opportunity.
Hunter’s current claim to fame is unfortunately from the most cringeworthy ad of the holiday season. With such a visceral reaction to his performance, maybe he’ll be able to land a role as a villain in an upcoming Hallmark film.