The public reaction following Unbroken Designs CEO Jennifer Rando’s racial slur-filled Instagram post that began with the fitness community expressing disappointment, anger and outrage, turned toxic towards the end of the weekend. Rando and her family are receiving death threats and harassment on social media according to the CEO.
One big thing: The death threats and harassment appear to be coming from outside of the CrossFit community that Unbroken Designs primarily serves, but the threat is being taken seriously.
- Members of these communities began sending direct messages threatening Rando’s life, the lives of her children, calling she, and her husband’s employers (both are employed separately from Unbroken Designs, Jennifer is a music therapist at a school for children with autism) and published her home address online.
- One message said, “we [got] $1000 on yo head…stupid racist bitch…watch yo ass dies in a month or so.” Another wrote, “Hope your kids get covid and die.” A third said, “Puta ima make sure you suffer…you better start to hide.” A message to Rando’s husband said, “Your kid might wake up with his head cut off cause of your wife.”
- Rando believes some of these threats to be credible and filed a police report with local law enforcement after someone sent a message including her home address.
The big picture: “She was wrong, but I just don’t believe she deserves this,” said Syn Martinez, former owner of CrossFit Harlem and owner of the apparel company Afrobrutality, who has been outspoken about racial issues on social media in the past.
- “Boycott, disassociate with her, that’s fair, but no law was broken. It was bad taste. I don’t think she deserves this.”
Martinez extended an olive branch last weekend, in an effort to provide her with a platform to apologize fully and explain her actions to the community. The two are friends and associates and Martinez offered to host her on Instagram Live (@afrobrutality has over 100,000 followers) to discuss her initial post and in Martinez’s words “give her an open forum…do some Oprah shit.”
- Martinez advised her to explain why she made the post in the first place and intended to give her a tough talk. “Cuss her out a little bit, you know, like ‘why the fuck would you do something like that?’” he said.
- At a dramatic point in the IG Live conversation, Rando mentioned that she had worked hard to make sure her children knew nothing about the post or the aftermath; Martinez told her to “sit them down, explain it, why it was wrong.”
- However, the Instagram Live feed, which had an audience of more than 10,000 people, was cut off. It had been overwhelmed with comments, including death threats and other threats of physical violence to Rando and Instagram shut it down. It has also prohibited Syn Martinez from using IG Live until May 29.
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