Peloton can’t seem to avoid bad press. The latest situation that’s got them in the headlines? The fitness company’s CEO is facing backlash for hosting an instructors-only holiday party – after a company-wide celebration was canceled amid COVID concerns and a plummeting stock price.
Fancy Holiday Party Angers Uninvited Employees
John Foley, the CEO, threw a fancy party at New York’s swanky Plaza Hotel on December 8th, according to social media posts from attendees. Peloton instructors were the only ones invited; no other company employees. Foley had decreed that there would be no holiday parties this year, leaving many Peloton employees angry that others were allowed to celebrate.
“All of the instructors and their plus-ones were invited to attend but companywide there was a moratorium on hiring and any holiday parties,” a Peloton insider told the New York Post. “Company morale is at an all-time low.”
The Peloton hiring freeze was put in place last month as their shares tumbled. Since the beginning of 2021, Peloton shares have dropped 73%. The reason for this drop-off? Investors started pulling out of the company as vaccines became more widespread and the world started opening up again.
CEO Claims It Was ‘A Personal Party’
Foley sent out an email to Peloton staff members to try and do some damage control, saying that the party was not an official company celebration. “This holiday season, my wife and I hosted a personal party for our vaccinated family and friends to celebrate all NYC has been through over the past two years,” Foley wrote. “Although some Peloton teammates were invited, the event was not officially affiliated with Peloton in any capacity.”
“I have since learned that this personal event has caused frustration and angst within our team. Please know, that was never the intention,” he continued. “Tomorrow, we are going to focus our monthly All Hands [meeting], as we have always done, on business-related topics, not personal events.”
Peloton was staying silent on the topic, but after the Post published a piece about the situation, the company reached out, accusing the publication of spreading “misinformation.”
“Among the guests, who were mainly close friends and family members of the Foleys, were some Peloton team members, not ‘just Peloton instructors,’” the company said in an email. “While there was no official ‘moratorium’ on holiday parties at Peloton, as we – and many other companies – did last year, we made the decision not to hold a companywide party this season, due to a number of factors, including space constraints to hosting thousands of team members in one location, as well as COVID restrictions and budget considerations.”