Russell Berger, CrossFit’s chief knowledge officer, was fired on Wednesday after tweeting out his support for an Indiana CrossFit gym’s decision to cancel a workout in honor of Pride Month.
“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,” the CrossFit executive tweeted. “The intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views is mind-blowing.”
— Gaycey Musgayves (@ChrisDStedman) June 6, 2018
When another Twitter user called out his comments, he responded by saying he was thankful to “work for a company that tolerates disagreement. I have homosexual coworkers who I love and respect, and as far as I am aware, they aren’t demanding I be punished for my views.”
CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman initially placed Berger on an unpaid leave of absence but later decided to take a harder stance just hours later.
On Wednesday afternoon, it announced on Twitter that Berger had been dismissed.
The statements made today by Russell Berger do not reflect the views of CrossFit Inc. For this reason, his employment with CrossFit has been terminated.
— CrossFit (@CrossFit) June 6, 2018
Berger has since deleted the tweet and later tweets in which he claimed that the “tactics of some in the LGBTQ movement toward dissent is an existential threat to freedom of expression,” Buzzfeed reported.
“He needs to take a big dose of ‘shut the f— up’ and hide out for awhile. It’s sad,” Glassman said of Russell’s views. “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. This changes his standing with us. What that looks like, I don’t know. It’s so unfortunate.”
Berger told Buzzfeed that he regrets making the comment publicly, but that he still holds the same opinion.
“My actual point I was making, I still affirm it,” he said.