The company behind the popular Peloton exercise bike craze has apologised after one if its instructors unwittingly posted an image of a Holocaust denier on social media, then blocked the Jewish fan who alerted her.
One Peloton, whose bikes are connected to iPads letting users join live classes or races, said sorry after a Jewish News reader complained about the actions of bike instructor Leanne Hainsby, who did not delete the image.
London-based Hainsby, one of only four Peloton spin instructors in the UK, was previously a professional dancer for artists such as Taylor Swift, Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry before becoming the first female Peloton instructor in Britain, where she has a substantial social media following, with almost 100,000 followers on Instagram.
Last month, in support of Black Lives Matter, Hainsby posted an image on the site that included Jim Curran, an Irish nationalist who has attended meetings with conspiracy hub ‘Keep Talking’ along with the likes of convicted racist Alison Chabloz.
Jewish Peloton user Yamit Ezra told Hainsby about Curran “within an hour” of the instructor posting the photo, alerting her to Curran’s positions and beliefs, but rather than delete the image, Hainsby kept it up and told Ezra that “everyone is entitled to their opinion”.
Shortly after, Hainsby blocked Ezra.
This week her conduct brought about a fulsome apology from the company, which committed to training its staff on antisemitism as a result.
“Last month, in an effort to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement, Leanne reposted an image she saw in the press and social media without knowing it featured a known Holocaust denier,” said a company spokeswoman.
“She should have removed the image more quickly and should not have blocked the member who notified her of the fact. Though these actions were not meant to be offensive, Leanne acknowledges that these poor decisions hurt members of our Jewish community and potentially spread harmful antisemitic content.
See Leanne’s apology below:
“Both we and Leanne acknowledge that the apology she posted a week ago was not a sufficient response to this situation. For all of this, she is incredibly sorry and is committed to learning more about the issue of anti-Semitism and understanding the implications of her actions.”
The spokeswoman added that the company “plan to incorporate learning and development programs about antisemitism for all our employees as part of our overall anti-racism plan”.
On Friday, Ezra said she “welcomes and accepts the belated apology” from Hainsby and had “reached out to her to offer our help as she continues to educate herself about antisemitism”.
She added: “This has been a very difficult few weeks for us, as we have been bullied and discredited by so many members of the Peloton community.
“Every-day antisemitism is clearly alive and well, and we welcome the steps that Peloton will take to educate their staff. It is up to us as Jews to identify discrimination against all creeds, and I hope one day that others will realise they too have a responsibility to call out discrimination against Jews.”