The man the internet has dubbed “Peloton Husband” is speaking out about fears that he’ll have trouble booking more commercial jobs after starring in the infamous viral commercial for the pricey exercise bikes.
His name is Sean Hunter, and when he’s not acting in commercials, he’s an elementary school teacher in Vancouver, Canada, according to Psychology Today, who interviewed him about the aftermath of the widely criticized ad for Peloton.
“As my face continues to be screen shot online, I wonder what repercussions will come back to me,” Hunter said. “It’s really hard to improve when all feedback goes against any type of growth. 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. After all, this commercial has nothing to do with my ability to teach or who I am.”
In the ad, Hunter plays the non-speaking role of a husband who buys his wife a Peloton bike for Christmas. The storyline follows the wife as she documents a year’s worth of using the bike via selfie videos. At the end, she and her husband sit down on the couch to view her entire selfie journey on TV, and then she thanks him for changing her life.
The spot, which had been running since early November, gained traction during the Thanksgiving holiday week, and led to the intense online backlash for what many called “cringeworthy” and sexist elements.
Hunter also recalled the moment he realized the ad had gone viral for the wrong reasons. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he said. “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.'”
Peloton released a statement last week saying that they are “disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial” — although the company’s CEO has stayed silent, according to the New York Times.
The actor and teacher also stressed that he is not the same person as the man he plays in the ad. “Unfortunately, the problem is that viewers can mistake an actor as that person after they’ve seen them on television instead of a person given a script with no opinion on what they are being told to portray,” he said.
He went on to acknowledge the negative attention that his co-star and “Peloton Wife,” Monica Ruiz, has gotten as well — though she did recently score a gig in a commercial for Ryan Reynold’s gin company.
“I reflect on what my co-actor must be dealing with, as she’s the other 25 seconds of the story,” Hunter said.