Russell Berger Fired from CrossFit HQ Following String of LBGTQ-Focused Tweets

Earlier this afternoon, former Chief Knowledge Officer of CrossFit Russell Berger found himself in hot water after tweeting out a string of comments focused on an Indianapolis CrossFit affiliate that recently shut down after their response to a Pride event.

For background behind Berger’s tweets, CrossFit Infiltrate based in Indianapolis, Indiana was set to host a Pride-focused workout at their gym, which was planned by coaches. The event was then cancelled by gym ownership, and an email was sent out to members, which released a statement that included, “the owners of the gym value health and wellness, and they believe that this event does not.”

Since the backlash and uproar from the Indianapolis-area CrossFit community following the initial cancellation email, the gym has since posted that it would be shutting down. According to WTTV, this closing came after some coaches and gym attendees quit in protest of ownership’s decision to cancel the event.

In a photograph shared by Marc Mullins on Twitter, a posting on the gym’s door reads, “CrossFit Infiltrate has determined that it will no longer run its business at this location.” 

Now, on to Berger’s tweets. His original tweets have since been deleted, but multiple screenshots have been taken and shared, which we’ve embedded below.

After Berger’s initial tweet, he added, “The tactics of some in the LGBTQ movement toward dissent is an existential threat to freedom of expression.”

Then after push back on the social platform, Berger responded with, “Thankfully I 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.”

All of these tweets led to a string of backlash responses, even after Berger quickly deleted the posts. He was at first placed on an unpaid leave of absence and then  later terminated by CrossFit Inc., as confirmed by CrossFit’s CEO Greg Glassman in an interview with Buzzfeed News and on CrossFit’s official Twitter account.

In talking to Buzzfeed News, Glassman said:

“He needs to take a big dose of ‘shut the fuck up’ and hide out for awhile. It’s sad…. 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.”

The official CrossFit tweet posted reads:

“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.”

Berger later told the same outlet that he regrets not further differentiating between “making statements of personal opinion, and me speaking as a voice for CrossFit.”

 “I should have realized that, and I didn’t until it was too late,” he said. “I do regret it.”

Feature image from @russellberger Instagram page. 

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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.