How Ryan Reynolds Got Involved in the Peloton Ad Controversy
By Paige Gawley
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Twentieth Century Fox
Ryan Reynolds is wading into the controversy surrounding a recent ad.
After Peloton, a company that sells at-home stationary bikes, released an ad that sent Twitter abuzz, Reynolds furthered the conversation by casting Monica Ruiz -- who stars in the exercise company's ad and has now become known as "Peloton Wife" -- in a commercial for his company, Aviation Gin.
Peloton's initial commercial came under fire for claims that it was sexist and catering only to the wealthy, as it shows a husband, unprompted, gifting his fit wife a Peloton bike as they stand in their large living room with floor-to-ceiling windows.
The ad continues by showing Ruiz anxiously making a vlog about using her new exercise machine, which she later shows to her husband as she tells him, "A year ago, I didn't realize how much this would change me."
In Reynolds' ad, though, Ruiz is sipping drinks at a bar with two friends, who encourage her to drink up, offering her seconds and telling her, "You're safe here."
"To new beginnings," Ruiz responds, before downing two of the drinks.
"You look great by the way," one of her friends adds as the commercial fades to a shot of Reynolds' gin.
Reynolds recently tweeted out his ad, quipping in the accompanying text, "Exercise bike not included."
In a statement to Deadline, Ruiz expressed gratitude to both Peloton and Aviation Gin for casting her in their commercials, even with the ensuing drama.
"I was happy to accept a job opportunity earlier this year from Peloton and the team was lovely to work with," Ruiz said in her statement. "Although I'm an actress, I am not quite comfortable being in the spotlight and I'm terrible on social media. So to say I was shocked and overwhelmed by the attention this week (especially the negative) is an understatement."
"When Ryan and his production team called about Aviation Gin, they helped me find some humor in the situation," she added. "I am grateful to both Peloton and now Aviation Gin for the work and giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do."
Meanwhile, Ruiz's onscreen counterpart, Sam Hunter, spoke out about the ad with Good Morning America, telling the outlet that "people turned down a pretty dark path and it turned into a nasty thing."
"Once something goes viral, and it turns viral, people jump on that negative bandwagon and start to create any dialogue they want," he said. "My image is being associated with sexism, with the patriarchy, with abuse, with these words that I am seeing people write about me -- that’s not who I am."
In a separate interview with Psychology Today, Hunter questioned how his association with the ad could harm his acting career in the future.
"As my face continues to be screenshot online, I wonder what repercussions will come back to me," he said. "I pride myself on being a great teacher and developing actor, and I can only hope that this affects neither. I’m grappling with the negative opinions as none of them have been constructively helpful."
As for the company, in a statement to CNBC, who reported that the exercise brand's stock went down 1.55 percent following the ad, they expressed disappointment about how the ad was "misinterpreted."
"We constantly hear from our members how their lives have been meaningfully and positively impacted after purchasing or being gifted a Peloton Bike or Tread, often in ways that surprise them," the statement read. "Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey. While we’re disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial, we are encouraged by -- and grateful for -- the outpouring of support we’ve received from those who understand what we were trying to communicate."
Keep reading for some of the best Twitter reactions to the Peloton ad controversy.
The only way I will consent to a third season of Big Little Lies is if the Peloton Wife moves to Monterey.