Peloton, the luxury home exercise company already in the midst of a P.R. crisis, received even worse publicity after it was revealed that CEO John Foley threw a large party at the Plaza Hotel. The problem? Foley canceled a company-wide holiday party amid plummeting stock prices. But then employees found out that the CEO threw a lavish party for instructors only. No employees.
The opulent Plaza Hotel Peloton party in New York City was leaked on Instagram from a couple of the Peloton celebrity instructors, angering employees who were told that parties were placed under a moratorium due to stock prices and the risk of spreading the Covid-19 Omicron variant.
CEO John Foley also previously announced that the company would have to undergo a hiring freeze, according to an unnamed insider at Peloton.
“All of the instructors and their plus-ones were invited to attend but companywide there was a moratorium on hiring and any holiday parties,” the employee told the New York Post.
The Peloton source stated that “Company morale is at an all time low.”
Since the beginning of 2021, when the luxury home workout company was selling hundreds of exercise bikes and treadmills to buyers quarantined due to Covid-19, shares in Peloton have reportedly dropped by over 70 percent. Investors worry that the ability to return to gyms will soften the demand for Peloton equipment. Mr. Big’s now well-known death by Peloton on the premiere of the Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That … hasn’t helped matters. Shares plummeted after the episode aired, and a commercial with Noth didn’t seem to assuage investors’ fears.
Back in August, the company was hit by several lawsuits and a subpoena from the Department of Justice after they failed to address safety concerns in their treadmills that led to the death of a young child. The company eventually responded by recalling a massive amount of their Tread+ machines to fix many defective and performance issues.
Recently, a major character’s death in the HBO series And Just Like That… occurred while he was riding a Peloton exercise bike, which tanked stocks by around 11 percent. The company went into damage control to convince people that its machines were not dangerous, sending a health expert to speak to the press about reducing the risk of heart attack, as well as filming a quick commercial with Mr. Big actor Chris Noth.
Responding to allegations of the swanky holiday party, CEO John Foley said that the event was not sponsored by Peloton, and served as a “personal” year-end 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 in a company-wide email. “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,” he continued. “Please know, that was never the intention. Tomorrow, we are going to focus our monthly All Hands, as we have always done, on business-related topics, not personal events.”
The black-tie affair reportedly featured a live band and champagne. It is unknown how many people attended the event.
According to the New York Post, the company later released an email stating that “among the guests, who were mainly close friends and family members of the Foleys, were some Peloton team members, not ‘just Peloton instructors.'”
“While there was no official ‘moratorium’ on holiday parties at Peloton, as we — and many other companies — did last year,” the email continued, “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.”