Star SoulCycle instructors have been accused of using racist language, fat-shaming, having sex with clients and more behind the scenes.
The company has also been accused of turning a blind eye to the allegations brought forward by 25 current and former riders, studio staff, instructors and corporate employees in an article published Monday by Business Insider.
Some of SoulCycle’s top instructors have been accused of behavior that includes discriminating against a pregnant woman, fat-shaming employees, using homophobic and racist language, and sleeping with riders. https://t.co/NerTS9VlR2
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) November 17, 2020
The insiders told Business Insider the behavior was commonplace as SoulCycle became increasingly popular.
Jennifer Brody reportedly worked as a studio manager at the Palo Alto, California, SoulCycle, and claimed master instructor Conor Kelly once called her “Aunt Jemima” after a ride. After finishing her workout, Brody said she changed and put on a bandana. Kelly allegedly said “Whoa, Aunt Jemima” when Brody walked passed him in the studio. (RELATED: SoulCycle Owner Faces Backlash For Throwing Campaign Celebration For Trump)
“That he felt OK calling me ‘Aunt Jemima’ in the middle of a studio lobby in Palo Alto was disgusting,” Brody told Business Insider.
Brody claimed she told other instructors about the comment, but did not report it at the time.
“There wasn’t anyone who would have cared,” she told the outlet. “SoulCycle kind of turned the cheek on a lot of stuff as long as they were making money.”
Top instructor talent was also allegedly receiving perks including Soho House memberships, and one even received a Mercedes Benz while teaching in the Hamptons, the outlet reported.
Kelly was also accused of having sexual relationships with multiple clients and reportedly sent nude photos of himself to multiple clients, according to the outlet.
“That became problematic because people’s spouses were complaining, and then it caused a lot of infighting with riders as well,” a former employee told Business Insider.
New York-based instructor Mike Press was accused of pressuring a client into performing oral sex on him, the outlet reported. Press and Olivia Atherton were allegedly involved in an on-and-off relationship when he showed up at her dorm in 2017 and reportedly pressured her for sex before pulling his pants down and telling her, “You at least owe me this.”
Two of Atherton’s friends contacted SoulCycle about the alleged incident, but never heard from SoulCycle after receiving an initial response, according to Business Insider.
“I guess it just upset me that they were just going to let it slide,” Atherton told the outlet. “I’m disappointed that they clearly value their prize instructors over their riders.”