This past week, the Internet set its sights on “The Gift That Gives Back,” a short television commercial for Peloton in which a husband buys his wife the company’s hugely popular (and expensive) exercise bike. She then documents a year of the bike’s use via social media and, at the ad’s end, shares her experiences with her family and, presumably, the rest of the world. At first glance, it’s a sweet, throwaway commercial, but many have been asking loads of questions about what appears to be a sexist undertone. Also, Ryan Reynolds put the actress in his most recent Aviation Gin commercial.
But what do Monica Ruiz and Sean Hunter, and actress and actor who star in the commercial, have to say about all the backlash? The former, via her agency, released a statement to Deadline in which she reacted to the ad’s viral response and how Reynolds and his gin company reached out to her:
“I was happy to accept a job opportunity earlier this year from Peloton and the team was lovely to work with. 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. 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.”
Hunter, who also works as a teacher, wrote an op-ed for Psychology Today about the viral pushback against the ad’s alleged sexism and spoke with ABC News about the ordeal. “Once something goes viral and it turns negative, people jump on that negative bandwagon and start to create any dialogue that they want,” he said. “My image is being associated with sexism, with the patriarchy, with abuse, for example. With these words that I’m seeing people write about me. That’s not who I am.”
Anyways, Merry Christmas everybody! Here’s the aforementioned commercial if you haven’t seen it already.