Entertainment

Latina Actress At the Center of the Viral Peloton Ad Says She is Finding “Humor” In The Situation

It’s not every day that you see an ad for an exercise bike taking the world by storm, but this viral commercial for Peloton did just that.

Three weeks ago Peloton, the company that is well known for being an fitness empire and a media juggernaut that was being touted as the “Apple of Fitness”, posted a Holiday ad for the cult-favorite bike to Youtube. The ad seemed innocuous enough: the 30-second spot followed the fitness journey of a young wife and mother who is gifted a Peloton bike for Christmas by her husband.

As the woman’s fitness journey continues, we see her documenting her daily workouts for her husband to watch. She congratulates herself for working out “five days in a row”, asking her husband if he’s “surprised”. We see her getting up at 6am to hop on the bike, lamenting her early wake-up call. At the end of the spot, we see the young mom watching the footage with her husband in the present. “A year ago, I didn’t know how much this would change me”, she says to the camera. In the present, we see the wife looking looking nervous and fidgety as she watches her husband watch the footage. Some viewers interpreted her behavior as if she were working out for her husband’s for approval.

A few weeks after the commercial was posted to Youtube, the ad went viral–and not for the brand’s intended purpose. 

Critics immediately called out the ad for what they perceived as its sexist messaging. Not only that, some viewers interpreted Ruiz’s face throughout the advertisement as “terrified”. As one Twitter user put it, the ad tells the tone-deaf story of a “thin, gorgeous woman transforming into a still-thin, still-gorgeous woman who’s terrified her husband won’t think she’s grateful”.

Credit: @amyhoy/Twitter

After the ad seemed to take over the internet over the weekend, the identity of the “Peloton Wife” actress was finally revealed to be Monica Ruiz, a California-based actress of Latina descent. Ruiz, for her part, seems to be rather rattled by all of the negative attention aimed at the ad. 

In a statement to People magazine, she called the Peloton team “lovely to work with” and said she was “grateful” for the job opportunity. As for the the backlash, she seems to be surprised by it. “Although I’m an actress, I am not quite comfortable being in spotlight,” she said to People. “So to say I was shocked and overwhelmed by the attention this week (especially the negative) is an understatement”.

In a hilarious turn of events, Ryan Reynolds recruited Ruiz to star in a commercial for his company, Aviation Gin. The catch? She’s playing the same character as in the Peloton commercial.

In a spot titled “The Gift that Doesn’t Give Back”, Ruiz is seen at a bar surrounded by two girlfriends. They look at her warily as she stares off into the distance, nursing a martini. They tell her she’s “safe here” and that she “looks great”. Ruiz, ostensibly traumatized by her husband’s controlling behavior, can only say that the gin is “really smooth” before chugging her cocktail as well as her friend’s. 

Naturally, the Aviation Gin ad went over like gangbusters on social media, with viewers calling it “genius” and “brilliant”. As for Ruiz, she seems to be much more at peace with the entire Peloton debacle. “When Ryan and his production team called about Aviation Gin, they helped me find some humor in the situation,” she told People. “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”.

Of course, since the ad originally went viral on Twitter, there are no shortage of Tweets riffing on the bizarre saga of the Peloton commercial.

Honestly, you could spend hours scrolling through hilarious memes and #hottakes centered around this one 30-second commercial. Something tells us Peloton didn’t intend this sort of reaction when they were brainstorming this ad.

This person summed up the weird vibe of the commercial perfectly:

There’s something off-putting about how she seems to be embarking on this year-long fitness journey to please her husband. 

This Twitter user had to explain why people were so irritated at the tone-deaf commercial:

It’s definitely the subtext of the ad that rubs people the wrong way. 

This Latina didn’t really understand the outrage

It’s definitely true that a lot of people workout to feel strong and healthy–their appearance has nothing to do with it.

This person was highly complimentary of Ruiz’s acting skills

We definitely agree. If commercials had their own Oscars, we think there’d be no contest. 

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Snapchat Tragically Thought Making Users Smile To Break ‘Chains Of Slavery’ Was A Fun Idea

Things That Matter

Snapchat Tragically Thought Making Users Smile To Break ‘Chains Of Slavery’ Was A Fun Idea

@KevOnStage

Companies and brands need Black people.

Case in point: recently, an executive from Snapchat’s parent company was forced to apologize for a disrespectful filter that encouraged users to “break the chains of slavery with a smile.”

Snapchat’s latest filter was set against a Pan-African flag and encouraged users to smile to make chains appear and ultimately break them.

The filter was featured as part of Snapchat’s Juneteenth support effort which rose in popularity amid protests over the death of Georg Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black people across the United States.

Users on Twitter were quick to condemn the filter as “tone-deaf” and being superficial in attempts to address systematic racism. In response to the backlash, former Snapchat employees have tweeted out about the company’s lack of diversity. “This is what happens when you don’t have any black people on the product design team,” one Twitter user wrote.

In response to complaints, Oona King, the vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Snap, slammed assertions that the company launched the filter without consulting Black staffers.

“The mischaracterization on social media — that White executives at a tech company failed, yet again, to include Black perspectives — is completely untrue,” King, a Black woman told employees in a Saturday letter. “What is true is that regardless of our diverse backgrounds, we are all human, and humans make mistakes.”

King asserted that Black employees had been “fully involved” in creating and approving the filter. In response to complaints, Snapchat pulled the filter and apologized.

“This mistake has taught us a valuable lesson, and I am sincerely sorry that it came at the expense of what we meant to be a respectful commemoration of this important day,” King said in the letter published by The Verge. “We feel it is perfectly acceptable as black people to celebrate the end of slavery — as we do with picnics, BBQs, street parties, and other forms of celebration across America — and say ‘Smile! Happy Juneteenth; we’re no longer enslaved! But we’re not yet really free either! However for a White person to tell a Black person: ‘Smile! You’re no longer slaves’ is offensive in the extreme.”

Unlike other Silicon Valley giants, Snap has yet to share a report on the diversity of its workforce. Recently they announced plans to publicly release diversity data, “along with additional context and our plans for meaningful change.”

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Keke Palmer Has Signed On To Star In A Thriller Based On A True Story About Slavery

Entertainment

Keke Palmer Has Signed On To Star In A Thriller Based On A True Story About Slavery

Lars Niki / Getty

Keke Palmer is pushing forward with her efforts to speak out on behalf of Black women and the Black Lives Matter movement. In recent weeks, fans of the “Hustlers” actress have watched as she took part in protests around the recent deaths of Black people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. She’s captivated crowds and users online with her words and call for justice.

Now she’s setting out to captivate us once again. This time with her latest role.

Palmer is due to star in and executive produce a character-driven thriller inspired by the life of a woman of servitude in the 1800s.

According to Deadline, Palmer will play the titular role of the movie called Alice which is being directed by Krystin Ver Linden. In a report about the new film, Deadline explained that “The character-driven thriller is inspired by the true events of a woman of servitude in 1800s Georgia, who escapes the 55 acre confines of her captor to discover the shocking reality that exists beyond the tree line… it’s 1973.”

Peter Lawson, the executive producer for John Wick and Spotlight is producing the film alongside executive producers Jose Agustin Valdes and Luisa Fernanda Espinosa of Steel Springs Pictures.

In an interview about her newest role, Palmer explained that “So many films that depict this time in our history are rooted in victimization of the black female lead. This story is the opposite and that’s what attracted me to Krystin’s perspective. It tackles the harsh realities of slavery and white supremacy while also offering inspiration and vindication through the story of Alice’s journey. I don’t want anyone to leave the theater feeling debilitated, I want them to feel empowered.”

The film pairs Palmer with a debut film director, Linden, who is also a newbie screenwriter.

Linden recently wrote the script Love in Vain, a biopic about blues music pioneer Robert Johnson. The project was recently picked up by Paramount with Oscar-winning Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse director.

Speaking about Palmer’s contribution to the film, Linden described the actress as a “prodigious talent and the perfect choice to step into the title role of Alice. This is such an important and emotional project, and when we saw Keke’s passion and vision for this woman and her story, we knew she was the one. With Krystin at the helm, we look forward to seeing her transform into this phenomenal character and bring her riveting story to life.”

The movie will start filming in August in Georgia and boy are we excited! Palmer has proven herself to be a major advocate of the BLM movement, so there’s no doubt she will exercise good judgment and creativity while taking part in the production.

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