“You can’t sit with us…because your fat ass will break the bike seat,” – Regina George while working as a Soul Cycle instructor.
Part of Soul Cycle’s plan for overweight staffers and clients is to shame them into not being such fat fucks, or so I’ve gleaned from the following Business Insider headline: SoulCycle instructors were treated like celebrities by company execs, but 30 insiders say star trainers fat-shamed colleagues and slept with riders
Let’s see what was afoot:
In August 2014, Jennifer Brody was working as a studio manager at California’s Palo Alto SoulCycle when she met Conor Kelly, a “master instructor” with SoulCycle. Kelly was in town from the East Coast to teach a class.
After the class ended, Brody, who is a Black woman, said she changed out of her workout clothes and put a bandana on her head. When she passed Kelly in the studio, she said, he laughed and said “Whoa — Aunt Jemima!” in an apparent reference to the syrup and pancake brand.
I’m going to assume, for the sake of our discussion here today that the delivery of said line was a very peppy, very spin class-instructory “Whoa, Aunt Jemima!” Like in Office Space when they dine at Chachkies and that peppy asshole with all the pieces of flair is walking around chopping it up with everyone. That’s what it seems like. I can’t imagine it would be good for business if the instructors at Soul Cycle were a bunch of sarcastic southern racists, “Whoa there Aunt Jemima, you best be movin along now, we don’t take too kindly to your type round these parts.”
The line between peppy co-worker and white supremacist can be painfully thin
“That he felt OK calling me ‘Aunt Jemima’ in the middle of a studio lobby in Palo Alto was disgusting,” Brody recently told Business Insider. Brody said she told a couple of instructors of color about Kelly’s remark, but she didn’t officially report it because, she believed, “There wasn’t anyone who would have cared.”
“SoulCycle kind of turned the cheek on a lot of stuff as long as they were making money,” Brody added.
Perhaps that’s because there was a time not too long ago, when nobody would have even realized that Aunt Jemima was offensive – quite the opposite in fact. Aunt Jemima was beloved for many decades thanks to her fluffy, buttery, syrup topped breakfasts. It was only after a recent stab at wokeness by a bunch of major corporations that Ms. Jemima was kicked out of the kitchen. And by the way; nobody really wears bandanas anymore. Their utility sort of faded when guys on horseback stopped robbing trains in the American west. At this point the only people still wearing bandanas are Bloods, Crips, biker gangs, Johnny Depp impersonators, and the occasional Oakland Raiders fan. So when the guy saw the bandana he probably thought “Whoa, Aunt Jemima!” and since he’s one of these peppy fitness assholes who runs on heavy doses of inspiration and pre-workout powder, he blurted it out loud without first contemplating the impact of his comment through the lens of critical race theory.
One is forced to wonder; if Kelly had shouted out Al Davis with a ‘Just Win Baby’ or made some reference to the Hell’s Angels upon seeing a woman in a bandana, could this entire kerfuffle have been avoided? It appears not.
While SoulCycle instructors were fawned over by riders and the company’s top brass, insiders said inappropriate behavior became more commonplace as SoulCycle’s cult following grew.
While top-tier talent was lavished with perks like Soho House memberships and, in one case, a Mercedes-Benz while teaching in the Hamptons, insiders said some of SoulCycle’s most successful instructors discriminated against a pregnant woman, fat-shamed employees, slept with riders, and used homophobic and racist language.
Am I the only one reading this like it’s a slight indictment of capitalism? That Soul Cycle treats their top tier talent well seems to irk the writer, who implies through tone that you shouldn’t aspire to a career spent cruising around the Hamptons in a nice car, and should have instead opted for a gig writing hit pieces for Business Insider. As for fat shaming – well it is a spin class, you are there to get your fat ass in shape, so I’ll reserve judgement for now. And what of the preggos? Well pregnant women are kinda gross, so I understand shaming them as well. I know everyone always says “oh they’re glowing”. No they’re not. I know you love your kids, but don’t lie and tell me you loved dealing with your annoying, fast food craving, overly emotional, pregnant wife. It’s a 9 month prison sentence, but instead of eating your fruit cocktail before cornholing you in a show of dominance, your cellmate sends you out to 7-11 at 3 a.m. in the rain because she’s craving a three-pack of 4 oz cups of Dole mandarin oranges in sugar water.
Kelly was also the subject of complaints about allegedly having sex with clients while teaching at the Greenwich, Conn., location, the outlet reported.
Several people said it was well known that he was sexually involved with a number of his riders — and a former high-senior employee said he texted nude photos of himself to clients.
“That became problematic because people’s spouses were complaining, and then it caused a lot of infighting with riders as well,” the employee said, according to the report.
In 2019, the chain switched him to a schedule of mostly New York City-based studios — but it dismissed the complaints because he was “a moneymaker,” the former corporate staffer claimed.
Seems to me that this guy was just slingin’ dick all over the place. The big factor here which isn’t being discussed is if these were unsolicited nudes. If he’s banging three clients then there’s a good chance he’s texting with others and they’re sending nudes back and forth, and before long the husband or boyfriend sees it and gets pissed. That’s one thing. On the other hand, if he’s sending unsolicited dickies – shooting his shot as they say – that’s fuckin creepy. There are a lot of creeps like that in gym culture. Gym culture is interesting. I’m usually the first to say that hardcore gym dudes are a paragon of virtue, because training instills values like hard work and discipline, and to be a truly hardcore gym dude means helping to maintain the gym, cleaning up weights, and teaching others from your own experience — all traits of a decent human being. However, there is a subset of dudes who are hardcore in their workout habits but only insomuch as the working out feeds a certain narcissism. If you’ve ever noticed an incredibly fit guy who is happy to leave a dumbbell on the other side of the gym instead of returning it to its rack, then you can rest assured he’s probably sent an unsolicited dick pic as well.
I used to run into a lot of guys like this down the shore. One of them used to show me his deadlifting videos which usually consisted of him struggling to pull 315 with atrocious form and barely getting it up. There are reports of him one night crawling into bed with a chick and insisting that she hook up with him, to the point where he refused to leave. He was also briefly involved with one chick who made it clear she was only down for a little summer fun and not a lifelong romance, prompting him to turn into a complete stalker. With that in mind it is true that these guys are out there, and their presence on the Soul Cycle staff is indeed a possibility.
The chick who allegedly did the pregnant shaming was the same one who was rewarded with a Hamptons luxury ride; Laurie Cole.
Last summer, Cole was reportedly accused of discrimination by a pregnant rider when she allegedly forced her to move at a Hamptons class from a reserved front-row bike — which are typically occupied by the most attractive people in the room, two people told the outlet.
“She was, like, ‘Oh no, no, no — I need you to come sit here,’ and put her in the back corner and moved a more fit, attractive person in front,” said a former corporate staffer.
The woman sent an email to complain about the incident — but the staffer said to their knowledge, Cole wasn’t disciplined.
I said it just paragraphs ago and I will say it again for those who didn’t hear me; no one wants to look at a pregnant woman. You know when pregnant couples do those photo shoots where the guy puts his hands on his wife’s belly? Disgusting! Nobody wants to think about hemorrhoids and placenta and umbilical cords and your big pregnant bush. We’re here for spin class bitch! Get in the back row and move the hotties to the front because we’re live streaming this thing and your bloated body is grossing out the paying customers riding along at home.
Co-workers told the Insider that Cole exhibited problematic behavior toward studio staffers, too.
She allegedly “fat-shamed” workers at the Tribeca location, asking the studio manager on several occasions to remove certain ones from shifts because they weren’t fit enough, Insider reported.
“She has taken photos of staffers who were maybe curvy and said, ‘This is not on brand for my check-in. I don’t want this at the front desk during my classes,’” the former manager told the outlet.
Have we considered the fact that she’s probably right? Imagine checking in at the gym and seeing a fatass behind the front desk? Probably not a very good gym now is it? Now, imagine paying out the ass for Soul Cycle in the Hamptons or NYC and seeing some manatee at reception spilling out of a pair of spanks. Are you really gonna tell me that doesn’t make a difference? If the Barre or yoga or CrossFit down the street has a fit, sexy staff greeting customers do you not think the exercising public will take their money elsewhere? People are paying top dollar for this. This isn’t Planet Fitness, $12 a month for free tootsie rolls, pizza, and bagels. This is Soul cycle motherfucker, and when you come here, you come correct!
In another incident, Cole reportedly used language that was deemed homophobic in 2017 when discussing the new manager of a Park Slope, Brooklyn, studio that was set to open.
Referring to the new manager, who was gay, she allegedly told another employee, “Well, they better not hire a bunch of twinks to work there.”
I have no idea what this chick looks like, but sight unseen I don’t know if I’ve ever been more attracted to a woman in my life. A fitness chick who can’t stand preggos or fatties, and realizes that while okay in small doses, twinks can be among the most irritating people on the planet? Good Christ woman please let me sniff your bike seat after a long ride, I’ll savor the memory for all of time. As far as not wanting twinks at your Park Slope location however, that I will object to. New York City is among the twink capitals of the world and Brooklyn especially. If you’re at a Soul Cycle in Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, the West Village or any of the gentrified Brooklyn neighborhoods, Park Slope among them, I have to assume you’re in the market for a nice slender twink. So I do think that’s a good hire on Soul Cycle’s part. But otherwise this chick sounds like a dream girl. Oh how I’d love to drive around the Hamptons in a luxury car making fun of fatties as we pass, before heading back to Ms Cole’s place for nice round of fit people fuckin. If you needed any further motivation to workout over the holidays it’s so you can have a shot with a chick like that. So do it. Lift weights, listen to my podcast the Savage Sacktap, checkout my workout advice, make fun of gross pregnant chicks and maybe you too can bang a Soul Cycle instructor.