The owner of CrossFit Infiltrate in Downtown Indianapolis has caused a domino effect of negative consequences for his box (the name for a CrossFit center aka gym) and a CrossFit executive.
It all started when a member of CrossFit Infiltrate created a pride workout event at the box in observance of LGBT Pride Month in June but it was quickly canceled by the box owner as reported by lgbtqnation.com.
CrossFit Infiltrate member Ryan Nix said that he planned a special workout last week for Pride Month, but he received an email saying that the workout was canceled.
Brandon Lowe, the director and owner of CrossFit Infiltrate, told Nix that the gym was for “total health,” and that pride prevents people from seeing themselves “as God truly defines them to be.”
The hurt and razzled Nix took to Facebook to let his friends and the public know exactly what was going on at his CrossFit center as well as advise people not to join the box.
“We emailed the owner since it seemed that there was an issue with people who may be LGBT,” Nix wrote on Facebook in a message that has since been made private. “You can see from his response that there is…. Please tell your friends not to join this place.”
Homophobic owner Lowe tried to mitigate the situation with a warm welcoming statement, “[CrossFit Infiltrate] has a history of welcoming and serving people training to be fit,” but members and employees of the gym weren’t buying it.
Becca Kimball, who canceled her membership, told RTV6, “It’s been a fabulous community. I’ve been here for a year and a half.”
But she didn’t want to be part of a gym that discriminates. “I quit my membership within an hour of receiving the email. I didn’t wanna be associated with a discriminatory organization.”
The controversy didn’t end with the box, it spread all the way up to the high levels of the national CrossFit brand as reported in a sequel article from lgbtqnation.com.
Russell Berger, who works for the national CrossFit brand as their “Chief Knowledge Officer,” posted several messages on Twitter in support of the gym’s owners.
“As someone who personally believes celebrating ‘pride’ is a sin, I’d like to personally encourage #CrossFit Infiltrate for standing by the convictions and refusing to host an @indypride workout,” Berger wrote. “The intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views is mind-blowing.”
He also said that the LGBTQ movement is “an existential threat to freedom of expression.”
Just like the negative consequences Lowe received from his homophobic stance, Mr. follow-the-leader Berger got a dose of justice too (in the best of ways) for his hurtful anti-LGBT tweets.
Berger was immediately placed on unpaid leave.
CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman told BuzzFeed News that the tweets were “appalling.”
“He needs to take a big dose of ‘shut the fuck up’ and hide out for awhile. It’s sad,” Glassman said.
“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.”
Homophobic Berger tried to explain himself and the awful things he implied about the LGBT community but thankfully CrossFit Founder and CEO Glassman wasn’t buying it — just like the CrossFit Infiltrate fleeing members.
Berger said that he’s an “Orthodox Christian” pastor (it is unclear if he is referring to the Eastern Orthodox Church or if he meant that he’s a fundamentalist Protestant) and that he often posts his personal views on his personal Twitter account. He said that these tweets were “nothing I haven’t said before on social media.”
He said that what was different this time is that his tweets were misinterpreted. He wasn’t speaking for CrossFit, but just for himself.
“It became way too difficult to discern between me making statements of personal opinion, and me speaking as a voice for CrossFit,” he said.
“My actual point I was making, I still affirm it,” he said.
On Twitter, CrossFit said that it supports diversity and that Berger’s statements don’t represent the company’s views.
Since the controversy CrossFit Infiltrate has closed its doors.
As for the Indianapolis gym itself, a reporter with RTV6 posted images on Twitter showing that the gym “will no longer operate its business at this location.”