A former CrossFit employee has accused ex-CEO Greg Glassman of mistreating female staffers at the beloved fitness brand that he says was “ruled by fear.”
Ex-Navy Seal Andy Stumpf detailed the allegations days after Glassman resigned amid a controversy over his inflammatory comments about the police killing of George Floyd
On a podcast released Friday, Stumpf said he heard many “derogatory and specifically sexual comments” about female employees during his years at CrossFit headquarters, including some from Glassman himself. Stumpf recalled that Glassman once told him he “suffers from the same thing that Tiger Woods does,” an apparent reference to the golfer’s extramarital exploits.
“Very often the overtures were far more overt,” Stumpf said on his “Cleared Hot” podcast. “It was an open secret as to who was potentially in the sexual crosshairs for Greg.”
Stumpf offered few specifics, but he recounted one incident when Glassman was in a vehicle with a female staffer whom he had pursued. Glassman asked about her boyfriend, who was in the military, and learned he had been deployed overseas, according to Stumpf.
“His response to that information, directly to this employee, was, ‘Let’s hope that we get to name a Hero WOD after him soon,’” Stumpf said. A “Hero WOD” is a CrossFit workout named for someone who is killed serving their country.
Glassman oversaw a corporate environment “ruled by a fear of retribution” that kept subordinates in line, according to Stumpf. He admitted that he was “complicit” in Glassman’s behavior by failing to stop it.
Stumpf called on CrossFit to address the problems publicly or release former employees from non-disclosure agreements that prevent them from speaking out. CrossFit offered Stumpf extra money to sign a separation agreement with non-disclosure provisions when he left in June 2014, an offer he declined, he said.
“I don’t want to drag anybody else into this other than those that need to be, but there are so many of these stories to tell,” Stumpf said. “And the bottom line is they’re not mine to tell, but these people deserve a platform, and the reason that they’re not talking now is because of fear.”
Glassman announced his resignation June 9 after BuzzFeed News reported on a Zoom call in which Glassman questioned why he should “mourn” Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police. He had also sparked an online backlash over the preceding weekend with an insensitive Twitter post about Floyd.
While he said he doesn’t think Glassman is racist, Stumpf expressed doubts that CrossFit’s corporate culture would change as long as Glassman remains its sole owner.
“I do not believe that somebody should be stripped of what they built,” Stumpf said. But, he added, CrossFit “was successful in spite of Greg Glassman, not because of Greg Glassman.”
CrossFit did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Stumpf’s allegations.