CrossFit exec fired for calling LGBT Pride a ‘celebration of sin’ says he was ‘disheartened’ by response
A senior CrossFit executive, who was fired last week after tweeting he believed LGBT Pride is a “sin,” has spoken out, saying he thinks his comments were “unwise” but that he was “disheartened” by the response.
Russell Berger, CrossFit Inc.’s former chief knowledge officer and sometimes spokesperson, voiced support for a CrossFit gym’s decision to cancel a workout in celebration of Pride on Twitter, in comments he later deleted.
Now, speaking to Christian radio station Apologia Studios, Berger has said his comments were foolish – but that he felt let down by the public’s reaction to them.
“I think my comments were imprudent, and I think that it was unwise for me to use the platform that I have and largely use to act as a spokesperson for CrossFit, Inc., to express those personal views,” he said.”I put my company in a position that I wish I hadn’t…and I regret that.”
Berger added: “I think it’s a really sobering and disheartening example of where we are as a culture that simply by expressing those views, which, again, have been pretty standard views for the historic Christian faith for thousands of years, that view is no longer tolerated, and, in fact, it’s a view that’s so divisive and so intolerable that it’s the kind of thing you can’t say and expect to keep your job.”
He continued: “I respect their [CrossFit’s] decision and I realise they had to do something, but at the same time I am deeply saddened by what’s going on in our culture that this is where we are.”
Berger posted his now-deleted tweets in support of a CrossFit gym’s decision to cancel a workout in honour of Pride.
Personal trainers at a CrossFit gym in Indianapolis, Indiana, had planned a workout in celebration of Pride, but the event was scrapped after the owners found out about it.
Many of the employees quit in protest and the gym later posted notices that it was shutting down.
Berger wrote: “As someone who personally believes celebrating ‘pride’ is a sin, I’d like to personally encourage #CrossFitInfiltrate for standing by their convictions and refusing to host an @indypride workout.
“The intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views is mind-blowing.”
Berger added: “The tactics of some in the LGBTQ movement toward dissent is an existential threat to freedom of expression. The lack of tolerance for disagreement, which has been bullying Twitter mobs promising ‘consequences,’ should be a concern regardless of your political stance.”
He then thanked CrossFit for “refusing to celebrate sin by hosting an @IndyPride workout” and criticised “the intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views.”
Berger was initially placed on an unpaid leave of absence before being fired by the company.
The firm confirmed his termination on Twitter: “CrossFit is a diverse community in every way, and that’s what makes us strong. No matter who you are, how you’re built, what you believe, or who or how you love—we are proud of you.
“The statements made today by Russell Berger do not reflect the views of CrossFit Inc. For this reason, his employment with CrossFit has been terminated.”
CrossFit’s Twitter account also quoted the company’s CEO Greg Glassman as saying: “I am crazy proud of the gay community in CrossFit.”
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“He needs to take a big dose of ‘shut the fuck up’ and hide out for a while. It’s sad,” Glassman added to BuzzFeed.
“Our underlying goal for the staff and members at CrossFit Infiltrate and our other gyms CrossFit White River and University Ave CrossFit, is total health and well-being for the individual and the community,” it read.
“Total health involves the body, the emotions, relationships, and the spirit. At the foundational detractor from health, as we believe God sets the parameters for, is pride. We believe that true health forever can only be found within humility, not pride.
“Humility is seeing oneself as they truly are, and as God truly defines them to be. As a business we will choose to deploy our resources towards those efforts and causes that line up with our own values and beliefs.”