Russell Berger fired from CrossFit for homophobic tweets
Photo by Godong/UIG via Getty Images

CrossFit executive Russell Berger is looking for a new job after a series of tweets compared a LGBTQ Pride workout to a sin.

"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," Berger wrote in a series of now-deleted tweets.

The former chief knowledge officer was referring to an event at an Indianapolis, Indiana, CrossFit gym. The event — organized by the gym’s trainers — was meant to celebrate LGBTQ Pride month and the Indy Pride celebration set for this weekend.

 

CrossFit Infiltrate cancels LGBTQ Pride workout

The owners of CrossFit Infiltrate ordered the organizing trainers to cancel the event, leading to a revolt among members. Undeterred, the owners doubled down on the cancellation, saying that they’re about "humility" and not "pride."

"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," the gym owners wrote in an email, according to OutSports.

"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."

Soon after, CrossFit placed Berger on leave, then terminated him hours later.

"He needs to take a big dose of ‘shut the f*** up’ and hide out for awhile. It’s sad," CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman told BuzzFeed. "We do so much good work with such pure hearts — to have some zealot in his off time do something this stupid, we’re all upset. The whole company is upset."

Former CrossFit employee apologizes for anti-gay comments

Berger, a pastor in Alabama, later apologized for his tweets that made it seem like he was speaking on behalf of the company. "It became way too difficult to discern between me making statements of personal opinion, and me speaking as a voice for CrossFit," he told BuzzFeed.

"I should have realized that, and I didn’t until it was too late," he said, adding that he still believes in his "actual point."

CrossFit Infiltrate, the gym at the center of the controversy, is now permanently closed.

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