It has been a tumultuous few weeks for CrossFit Founder, former CEO, and current sole owner of CrossFit Inc. Greg Glassman. Today, the New York Times has broken a story alleging rampant sexual harassment, fostered by Glassman, among CrossFit Inc.’s top male management.
How we got here: In the aftermath of the brutal murder of George Floyd on May 25, as protests and demonstrations erupted in cities around the United States, Glassman was captured on a Zoom call with affiliate owners stating “We’re not mourning for George Floyd, I don’t think me or any of my staff are.”
- In a June 6 tweet responding to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that stated “RACISM IS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE,” Glassman replied, “It’s Floyd-19.”
- The public outcry resulted in major sponsors, such as Reebok, as well as gym owners and elite athletes distancing or disaffiliating themselves from the brand.
- On June 9, Glassman resigned as CEO and “retired,” but held on to 100% ownership of the company, while putting Dave Castro, Director of the CrossFit Games and Co-Director of Training into the position of CEO.
- Then, on June 12, former CrossFit HQ employee and Glassman’s former personal pilot, Andy Stumpf released a podcast episode outlining a troubling pattern of sexual harassment and sexual abuse surrounding Glassman and the upper echelon of CrossFit HQ staff.
- Toward the end of the episode, Stumpf asserted: “Let people speak in their own voice…[I] recommend and implore the people that I know are out there right now who are digging to continue to do so.”
From the New York Times:
- “[P]eople who have worked [with Glassman] were surprised that his downfall was tied to accusations of racism. They had assumed that the reason would be routine and rampant sexual harassment.”
- “According to the dozen interviewed [eight former employees and four athletes with strong ties to HQ], Mr. Glassman, 63, has verbally demeaned women, pulled at their clothes to try to peek at their cleavage and aimed his phone’s camera to snap photos of their breasts while they traveled with him for work (sometimes pressuring them to consider sharing hotel rooms or borrowed houses with him).”
- “The former employees say reporting the harassment was not an option. Mr. Glassman is the sole owner of CrossFit, Inc.” Importantly, “There was no human resources manager until 2013. That manager left the company in January and has not been replaced.”
- “Male employees would rank female professional CrossFit athletes according to how much the men wanted to have sex with them, according to an email from a current CrossFit employee to a former one that was reviewed by The New York Times. (Mr. Glassman denies this, his spokeswoman said.)”
- “In 2012, Mr. Glassman agreed to pay a financial settlement to Julie Kelly, a former employee whose lawyers threatened to file a sexual harassment lawsuit, according to three people in the CrossFit community with direct knowledge of the situation.”
- “Also that year, Mr. Glassman was being driven to the airport by Andy Stumpf, a former Navy Seal with five Bronze Star medals and a Purple Heart who oversaw CrossFit, Inc.’s partnership with Reebok and also worked as Mr. Glassman’s pilot. “We were in the car and he was chuckling,” said Mr. Stumpf, in an interview. “I asked why he was in such a good mood and he said, ‘I finally finished up with the bullshit with Julie; I had to pay that whore.’”
CrossFit Inc.’s response: “Through a company spokesman and spokeswoman, Mr. Glassman denied such conduct. The spokeswoman said Mr. Glassman has treated her only respectfully. She suggested that people speaking out against Mr. Glassman are doing so to lessen the worth of his company and then buy it from him. ‘There is a collective effort to devalue the company and buy it for scraps,’ she said,” the New York Times reported.
- Relating to Glassman’s current role in the company: The CrossFit spokesman said it was untrue that Mr. Glassman would still be calling the shots. ‘He wants to retire and home-school his kids,’ he said.”
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