Actor who played husband in Peloton commercial talks about being a target of anger

Originally published at:


Some people are so upset about the awful Peloton commercial that they seem to think the actors were not in a role but were a real family. This reminds me of my Russian grandmother who told me that certain actors in soap operas were bad people because they played villainous roles on TV.

This often happens with shut-ins and extremely lonely people. When I worked in TV news we had regular callers and letter-writers (this was in pre-Web days) who expressed grudges or crushes or creepy sentiments toward the anchors and reporters, as if they were friends and family.

I reflect on what my co-actor must be dealing with, as she’s the other 25 seconds of the story.

With the fallout from her “resting worry face” in this particular ad, I hope she’ll leverage this unwanted infamy as well as she can. If she remains an actor, she’s doomed to be typecast as “abused wife or girlfriend” for the rest of her career (not that being a regular in Lifetime TV movies is the worst thing for a working actor).


Dear people, actors are not their roles and the bills are not going to pay themselves.
Leave the guy alone.

ETA and the script may have read in a different way than what ended up after editing the final product so the actors may have thought it looked like a happier setup.



If you must, harass the jerks at Peloton who thought that sexist ad was a good idea in the first place; but leave the D-list actor who’s in it alone, everybody needs to put food on the table.

*edited for typos


Some people hold exercise bike commercials to a higher standard than the POTUS.


The reaction to this commercial is one of the most perplexing things that I’ve seen in a while. when I first saw some headlines that this commercial was controversial I watched it without reading the specific critiques. Nothing. It seemed like a very typical commercial. Are there genuine critiques of Peloton, yes. Are there genuine critiques of commercials in general, also yes. But this commercial seemed about as bland any other.


Coincidentally, I had just finished reading this take before coming to BB:

He has changed his Instagram handle to “pelotonhusband.” He has written several paragraphs for a Psychology Today blog post. “As my face continues to be screen shot online,” he writes, “I wonder what repercussions will come back to me.” He expresses hurt that someone called the commercial’s acting “overdramatic”: “it’s really hard to improve when all feedback goes against any type of growth.” He worries that this will jeopardize his day job as an elementary school teacher and his budding acting career: ”I currently sit here hoping that I’ll be able to continue auditioning for commercials without any taint.”

I cannot muster any concern on behalf of this wife guy. Most comments seem clearly aimed at his character and not him. “Overdramatic” is a valid note, try being a woman online for one day, etc. Hunter is so much of a blandly handsome white dude that I had to spend dozens of seconds going back and forth between a photo of the person in the commercial and prior Instagram glamour shotsbefore I could convince myself that it was actually him in the ad. I do not think this will affect his day job—I would be surprised if the young minds he educates are terribly keyed into gentle, comedic critiques of the luxury workout market. I doubt that his face’s brief appearance in a piece of internet ephemera would cause him to have “any taint” going forward.

Also, his path back into obscurity would have been much smoother had he just remained anonymous. Attaching his name and Instagram account to the commercial is, in fact, an explicit choice that he made. Multiple reporters (me, one from the New York Post) were unsuccessful at figuring out the identity of Hunter’s female co-star, whom we were interested in hearing from because, you know, she was ostensibly the focus of the commercial, the one whose acting even made it a thing. (I even DMed Hunter on Instagram to see if he could connect me with her but, at press time, had not received a response. He has been Insta-Storying coverage of his star turn, though.)

Mystery Peloton Woman is understandably/hopefully riding this out somewhere peaceful without Wi-Fi. Hunter acknowledges in the Psychology Today post that his screen time was relatively short in comparison to that of his screen-wife: “I reflect on what my co-actor must be dealing with, as she’s the other 25 seconds of the story.” That’s considerate, but it’s also just what wife guys do: hip-check their way to the mic by latching onto their more noteworthy counterparts (see curvy wife guy’s infamous Instagram post opining about his beloved’s body, see John Legend making a hit song and a Sexiest Man Alive–worthy persona out of his adoration for Chrissy Teigen).


Uh… in the abstract he might have a point, but by my count his face is on screen in any recognizable way for 35 of the 720 frames in that commercial, or just over 1 1/3 seconds. (Not even the five he says in the article.) He could be murdering babies in full Hitler drag and that wouldn’t be enough time to associate his blandly handsome face with Bad Things in the minds of casting directors.

My guess is that this is either an attempt to make his career go viral (in which case I don’t love his chances) or to goose Peloton sales (which might actually work, because hey, we’re talking about it).


Maybe I’m tone deaf but I’m having a hard time seeing why this commercial is attracting special opprobrium? It’s generic, highly processed, bologna-grade advertising endemic to all “lifestyle luxury” goods that has less flavor than flat water.


Well, in fairness, the point of the commercial is to make it seem to like this is a real couple in a real home. Most of the segments are shot on the “wife’s” phone; the other shots use the “The Office”-style mockumentary cinematography, which is another “reality-indicating” device (at least, subconsciously; who would be filming in these people’s home?). I think even intelligent people can be passively tricked by this kind of marketing.


I heard about the controversy, watched the commercial, and then was like, “did I watch the right commercial, 'cause I’m not seeing it.”

Guy drops over $2k on a broken bicycle and woman takes too many selfies. Just sounds like the middle-class fantasy of overprivileged people doing their thing to me.


It’s an unfortunate combination of factors. The actor playing the wife has a natural expression of anxiety and eagerness to please the husband and forced joy that’s associated with abused women. There’s also the fact that, as a conventionally attractive performer, she’s already very fit and slim, which makes the character look like she already spends a great deal of time at the gym. Add in a household design aesthetic and intrusive Internet selfie/surveillance theme reminiscent of “Black Mirror” and a lot of people are going to find it creepy.

That said, they were never going to depict a warm and lived-in lower-middle-class household or a slightly chubby wife to sell a very expensive stationary bike and subscription service. They could have improved the writing a bit and gotten a less frightened-looking actor to play the wife, but I don’t know if that would have changed the reaction much.


What they should be worried about is that the Pelotons are plugged into the Internet of Shit.


I do not mean to be uncharitable to anyone’s grandmother, but humans are equipped to distinguish between reality and fiction sometime around age four. I realize some people are legitimately unable to due to due to mental illness, but in keeping with my own policy and that of the BB guidelines I choose not to speculate beyond saying that most of people who disparage and harass actors not just for the roles they choose to play (itself a dubious prospect), but for their characters in and of themselves, can and do in fact understand that fictional characters are not real. Ascribing moral judgement of the character to the performer can only be explained by a profound lack of emotional intelligence.


Yeah, I got the impression he is milking his “fame” here. He doesn’t say anything at all has happened to him. The answer to his question “If recognized on the street, what will people’s first opinions be of me?” should be

“Hey, aren’t you the guy from the Peloton commercial?”



For anyone missing why the ad was problematic:

The woman in the ad is not presented as some zealous fitness nut at the very beginning, which is the only way such a gift is not a backhanded insult.

As I inferred on the original post about the ad, gifts are supposed to tell the recipient how you feel about them; items and services that are actually wanted and/or needed are considered ‘thoughtful’ presents which express the giver’s esteem.

Giving a timid-acting woman (who’s already slender even by society’s ridiculous standards) an expensive exercise bike inadvertently sends the message - “Don’t get fat or out of shape, babe.”

Had the woman actually been of average size, the message would be “You are fat/out of shape.”

This impression is not helped at all by the fact that she is shown unhappily getting up early to work out, while her hubby is still blissfully sound asleep next to her.

Again IMO, unless she’s really into fitness or cycling, giving a woman exercise equipment as a gift is just as bad as giving her a vacuum cleaner.


Funny because it seems like the ad agency was going for a generic-harm-nobody type ad.


They failed.


Due to the mentality present at both client and agency, that ended up translating badly in execution. I’m sure that they didn’t intend for this viral response grounded in creeped-out viewers, even if everyone involved is now starting to pretend they meant to do so.


My theory is that the ad was originally one minute long, and was much more balanced, but someone was like “Cut it down to 30 seconds.” So they cut out all the parts where it seems like the woman actually likes riding the Peloton and it changed the overall impression. Meanwhile, everyone at Peloton is still thinking about that one-minute ad they saw, and can’t figure out why people find the televised one cringeworthy.