The Widdershins

Beware Angry Homosexuals

Posted on: June 7, 2018

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When SCOTUS handed down their ruling in “The Baker” case on June 4, it was argued by apologists that the ruling was not intended to be viewed broadly as a referendum on gay rights. Perhaps some of the justices (Kagan voted with the majority) intended their ruling to be applied narrowly, specific to the Masterpiece Bakery case only and not to any other business and not to LGBTQ+ rights broadly. But if they truly believed that their decision would be viewed as narrowly as they claim they intended it – I’d like to sell Justice Kagan a bridge.

On June 5 a CrossFit gym in Indianapolis called CrossFit Infiltrate cancelled a previously planned special workout in honor of Pride Month. As a member of the CrossFit community for close to 6 years this case interested me greatly. This special workout in honor of Pride Month isn’t especially special. Every CrossFit affiliate hosts these sort of workouts for any occasion they decide on. At my CrossFit we occasionally do them for departing long-time members, big holidays (like Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, New Year), fundraiser workouts like breast cancer or bone marrow donor drives. The most famous CrossFit workout is done on Memorial Day when all US based CrossFits do the Murph, a grueling workout named after a fallen Navy Seal Michael Murphy. (Subject of the movie “Lone Survivor.”) So on memorial day everybody runs 1 mile, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, run 1 mile to honor Murphy and all others who have served in the armed forces. If you really want to do this right you are supposed to wear a 20 lbs vest through the ordeal (the weight of the backpacks Marines wear.) And yes, many CrossFits will do special workouts for Pride because it’s a good reason to play an hour of Madonna and ABBA, and wear colorful outfits. But truly, it really isn’t that special because these things can be done for many occasions and often are just an excuse to go out drinking afterwards.

So when coaching staff and members of CrossFit Infiltrate scheduled a Pride workout they couldn’t have expected controversy. But controversy arrived on June 5 (the day after SCOTUS’ Masterpiece Bakery decision): the owners of the gym wrote in a letter:

Our underlying goal for the staff and members at CrossFit Infiltrate and our other gyms CrossFit White River and University Ave CrossFit, is total health and well-being for the individual and the community. Total health involves the body, the emotions, relationships, and the spirit. At the foundational detractor from health, as we believe God sets the parameters for, is pride. We believe that true health forever can only be found within humility, not pride. Humility is seeing oneself as they truly are, and as God truly defines them to be. As a business we will choose to deploy our resources towards those efforts and causes that line up with our own values and beliefs.

Do you think the SCOTUS decision the day before had something to do with it? I think so, yes. What followed was a social media nuclear explosion. It led to the coaching staff to quit and many members to cancel their memberships in protest. The owners announced they would close the gym.

But it wasn’t over. On June 6 a name familiar to all CrossFitters came to Infiltrate’s defense. Russell Berger is an owner of a CrossFit gym in Huntsville, Alabama. He works for CrossFit headquarters as its spokesman and attack dog. He is notorious for going after and verbally attacking and humiliating anyone who dares to criticize CrossFit. He has a talent for vicious insults. Naturally, he is a deeply religious Orthodox Christian and pastor in a church, as well as a former Marine. Berger decided to wade into the controversy by tweeting in support of Infiltrate.

As someone who personally believes celebrating ‘pride’ is a sin, I’d like to personally encourage #CrossFitInfiltrate for standing by their convictions and refusing to host an @indypride workout. The intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views is mind-blowing.

I tweeted back at him almost immediately, asking if his statement was the official position of CrossFit headquarters and founder and CEO Greg Glassman. I also tagged about a dozen well-known CrossFit athletes to get their take. Berger responded to me, accusing me of being a bully and an authoritarian by silencing his differing beliefs. “The tactics of some in the LGBTQ movement toward dissent is an existential threat to freedom of expression.”

This is the most common right-wing trope these days: they call for discrimination and attack a group of people, and when people fight back they accuse this group of being bullies and silencing the poor, suffering white heterosexual Christians. Berger and I went back and forth a few times. Others dove in as well. Berger dug in and reiterated his opposition to the sinful lifestyle and that anyone arguing with him was a fascist.


Through it all many members of the CrossFit community waited for a response from HQ and founder/CEO Greg Glassman personally. Finally HQ tweeted that Berger’s statements do not reflect the values of the company and they have placed him on unpaid leave while they investigate and Glassman released a statement: “I am crazy proud of the gay community in CrossFit.” Glassman also told Buzzfeed that he was appalled by Berger’s comments and:

“He needs to take a big dose of ‘shut the fuck up’ and hide out for awhile. It’s sad,” Glassman said in an interview. “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.”

Berger’s tweets were deleted. But soon HQ announced that Berger was fired. Eric Erickson – who does not CrossFit, but who did attend seminary school with Berger – came to Berger’s defense and attacked homosexuals and liberals in general. I told Erickson to “eat a bag of rat assholes.”

But don’t feel too bad for Berger. I have no doubt he will become a pariah and will go on a speaking tour to talk about how badly he was treated by those horrible, mean, prideful, sinning homosexuals.

“It became way too difficult to discern between me making statements of personal opinion, and me speaking as a voice for CrossFit,” he said.

He said that he should have anticipated that his comments would be interpreted as him speaking on behalf of CrossFit. “I should have realized that, and I didn’t until it was too late,” he said. “I do regret it.”

But, he added, he stands by his original sentiment: “My actual point I was making, I still affirm it.”

I am glad to say as the controversy broke the owner of my CrossFit Hell’s Kitchen posted on instagram:

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 2.31.19 AM.png

A few years ago we had a float in New York’s Pride March. It really was an extraordinary afternoon; one of the most memorable days of my life. That’s our heterosexual owner on the left looking at the camera. Allies are important.


Happy Pride Month! This is an open thread.

56 Responses to "Beware Angry Homosexuals"

D, check your D.M.s in twitter.

I had read an initial story about the Indy CrossFit deal over on TowelRoad but didn’t see any followups.

Thanks for giving us a fuller story.

Excellent Rude Pundit piece right here.

Basically he flips the script on the Trumpkins and it’s delicious.

What a saga about that workout. Good for you (and everyone else who helped) to not let the yahoos get away with it.

I need a forehead tattoo: It’s 2018. I can’t believe I’m still dealing with this shit.

The fascinating thing about the whole situation is that it was only going to be one workout. Which staff and members organized. It really was not a big deal at all. And the owners, emboldened by SCOTUS decision, decided to flex their muscle and lost a business. No doubt they feel victimized by those damned homosexuals. And that’s fine. It’s time for all of us to stop taking their feelings into consideration. They need to start accepting consequences of not caring about ours.

It’s time for all of us to stop taking their feelings into consideration. They need to start accepting consequences of not caring about ours.

Righteous rant, DYB! Ha, don’t mess with pissed-off gays.

I will never understood why people loving each other is so frightening to some other people.

@7: I just saw something about that!

26 drag queens should show up and picket in front of the hardware store.

I guess y’all heard about trump asking Trudeau “didn’t you guys burn down the White House?”

DYB, very interesting post, am glad you’re in the right CrossFit.

Isn’t this guy cute?

Fredster @10, yes, he’s an imbecile. And yesterday we had the dimwit blonde referring to D-Day as one of the reasons we’re close with Germany.

Religions are the root of most human evil, not because they exist, but because ignorant people join them and reinvent right and wrong.

Thread here:

I’m literally about to vomit.

Fredstrer @17, that’s terrifying. Think of all the people that could die. Is that how bad things have to get for Americans to vote these treasonous crooks out of the WH & Congress?

@18, Very interesting. My sympathies are with the bar, but is this a slippery slope kind of thing?

@19: I know, it’s horrifying what these bastards want to do.

I wouldn’t call it a slope, Annie. It’s all the way over and in the ravine. That bothered me when the Nazi-punching meme became a thing over a year ago.

(If you have a god-given right to punch them because they’re awful, they can use the same rule to punch you. The only way to decide who gets to do what becomes who has the power.)

It was a matter of months before some people went there with the “punch TERFs” garbage. That was pretty much hey-let’s-punch-women-saying-stuff-we-don’t-like. Who gets to punch whom is nothing but who can get away with what.

Then we had pharmacists who couldn’t do the jobs they’d signed up for because they were so icked out by birth control and morning after pills.

Then bakers who think icing has cosmic significance and they get to decide what that significance is.

Now, people realize it goes both ways and they can order fascists to leave their bars.

(Although, I have to say, I think you *can* order fascists to leave bars. Hate speech is poison to rule of law and mutual tolerance. It’s the old irony that the only thing tolerance can’t tolerate is intolerance.)

Anyway, tl:dr; yes, vetting each others beliefs before letting people live their lives is the road to hell.

(Should I do a whole post on this? How many people here could stand a disquisition on the difference between rights and privileges?)

@21 – Raises hand

Great post, D. Krugman had a really excellent post on how wingnuts are constantly agitating to get their POVs out there and crying “liberals hat free speech” if they aren’t given platforms in the media and government and education. As he says, it’s about power. They are trying to infect the world with their alternate reality. Up until Drumpf was “elected, things were going pretty well for them. Now the cockroaches are exposed, and the light is starting to burn.

@17, That is inhumane. My heart aches. It’s already so hard for many people to get needed healthcare. Republicans — and Trump in particular — are despicable.

I have a couple of pre-existing conditions which will make me virtually uninsurable if I lose coverage through work (unless I was a millionaire and so could afford to pay the premiums).

@21, Yes.

This is before pre-existing conditions coverage is dismantled.


My cats cannot believe this:

@21: (Should I do a whole post on this? How many people here could stand a disquisition on the difference between rights and privileges?)


@27: That is definitely not Sylvester and Tweety is it?

Good way to end the work week, a new Randy Rainbow:

Hey all, just a little personal update….we received and accepted an offer on our house! One more thing falling into place. Moving next Wednesday! OMG

madamab! I’m glad for you.

34 Congratulations MB and welcome to the lovely Bay Area.

MB, that’s fabulous! Am so happy for you. You are amazing to have done all this so fast!

Quixote, enjoyed your comment @21. Yes, please do a post!


socalannie said:

Quixote, enjoyed your comment @21. Yes, please do a post!

Yes, it would be a great post!
In fact, Quixote first did a post on the “punch Nazis” meme back in Feb. 2017 on Acid Test, on which I commented extensively. Here it is:

Quixote, I hope you don’t mind that I linked your post!

Hubs was at the Dodger game tonight, the lucky pup. It was a beautiful night there and Dodgers actually won.

That is such great news about the DNC vote. Earlier today NPR had an article on how Bernie is losing battles, but winning the war. I think this DNC vote just made that story wrong. Maybe I will give them a donation now.

Very sad news about Bourdain. And just days after Kate Spade’s suicide.

Watch this brief video of Kim Kardashian explaining how she worked with Trump to get that pardon for one woman. There is a moment where you can see her realize she was used. And then she throws Kanye under the bus. It’s remarkable.

(Well, I’ll do a post on rights Real Soon Now. And I *like* links to my posts, Branjor. Thank you! :D)

Loved the possum mom. She looks longsuffering, and also like she wishes Junior #5 would get its back foot out of her eye!

I like Charles Pierce’s take on Kardashian: anything non-destructive is something to celebrate these days. I’m not sure whose idea it was to label her visit about “prison reform,” which is rather ridiculous for her. But her using her celebrity to intercede for that poor woman is all to the good. Go Kim, as far as I’m concerned.

If true, this is beyond hilarious!

@45: agree with you there on using her celebrity for a good cause.

@48, the Leader of the Free World contemplating how to give Drumpf a kick in the balls under the table.

I was at a conference all day and am just now catching up on news. Looks like Drumpf has been shaking his baby fists and sticking out his tongue (yes, he really did this) at our allies while sucking up to Putin at the G6 + 1.

Maybe I’ll go back to bed.

Also: Trudeau is allegedly 6’2″. But look! He’s taller than Trump!

@51: Maybe I’ll go back to bed.

Hell I’m going to start having cocktails in a little bit. Anything that helps. 🙂

@52 And look at that second picture of Macron and Stump. Macron still has a firm grip and Dotard is trying to let go! Hilarious!

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