CrossFit fires employee after '"pride" is a sin' tweet

CrossFit, the fitness company famous for its devoted fans and exhausting workouts, faced a wave of controversy after an affiliate gym in Indianapolis canceled a planned LGBTQ pride event in a religiously inspired email to members.

CrossFit Infiltrate owner Brandon Lowe instructed his Indianapolis gym to cancel the pride workout in a note sent on June 1.

"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," Lowe wrote.

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Pride month celebrations across the United States
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Pride month celebrations across the United States
People participate in a Resist March that replaced the annual Pride Parade in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen
People participate in a Resist March that replaced the annual Pride Parade in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen
Thousands celebrate the annual LGBTQ Capital Pride parade in Washington June 10, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan
Members of the LGBT community and their supporters participate in the #ResistMarch at the 47th annual LA Pride Festival in Hollywood, California on June 11, 2017. Inspired by the huge women's marches that took place around the world following the inauguration of President Trump, LA Pride has replaced its decades-old parade with a protest march. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
People participate in a Resist March that replaced the annual Pride Parade in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen
FOLEY SQUARE, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2017/06/16: On June 16, 2017 at Foley Square. NYC Pride takes the Rally back into the streets. Community activists, organizers, and more will make their voices heard as 10 days of LGBT Activism, Visibility, and Celebration Kicks-Off. The NYC Pride expands this year to 17 events for the LGBT Community. (Photo by Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONG BEACH, CA - MAY 21: A member of Flaggers United participates in the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade in Long Beach on Sunday, May 21, 2017. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JUNE 18: Melany Austad, middle, Macey Moyer, left, and Kaylee Flaherty, right, all of whom work for Target, wave rainbow flags as they take part in the 42nd annual PrideFest Parade on June 18, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Denver PrideFest is Colorados largest regional celebration of LGBT Pride. The parade started in Cheesman Park headed west on Colfax Ave and ended at Civic Center. The festival included live entertainment on three stages, as well as more than 200 vendors, food and drink. Denver PrideFest is the largest annual fundraiser for the GLBT Community Center of Colorado, a non-profit organization that serves more than 47,000 people annually with programs for LGBT youth, seniors, Colorados transgender community, and training and legal programs. Over 180 different organizations participated in this year's parade. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JUNE 18: Confetti flies in the air during the 42nd annual PrideFest Parade on June 18, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Denver PrideFest is Colorados largest regional celebration of LGBT Pride. The parade started in Cheesman Park headed west on Colfax Ave and ended at Civic Center. The festival included live entertainment on three stages, as well as more than 200 vendors, food and drink. Denver PrideFest is the largest annual fundraiser for the GLBT Community Center of Colorado, a non-profit organization that serves more than 47,000 people annually with programs for LGBT youth, seniors, Colorados transgender community, and training and legal programs. Over 180 different organizations participated in this year's parade. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
STONEWALL INN MONUMENT, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2017/06/14: Gays Against Guns organized a rally and march in New York Citys West Village, starting at The Stonewall Inn on June 14, 2017; in memory of Gilbert Baker, creator of the Rainbow Flag, the international symbol of LGBTQ pride. The event also protest discrimination and bigotry against LGBTQ Americans that has been perpetuated by the Trump administration and the GOP. Baker died last March 31 at age 65. (Photo by Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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After the cancelation note was sent out, CrossFit member Ryan Nix organized a Facebook boycott on June 3. Members then began to cancel their memberships in protest. By Tuesday, June 5, CrossFit's corporate parent intervened, fired Lowe and closed CrossFit Infiltrate, according to CNBC.

"It made me feel really uncomfortable and not welcome. And not just me but a lot of the other members," former member Dan Mendoza told NBC affiliate WTHR in Indianapolis.

The controversy went national, however, when Russell Berger — who claimed in his Twitter profile to be the CrossFit "chief knowledge officer" — posted a string of tweets early Wednesday supporting the Indiana gym's decision to shut down the pride workout.

"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," Berger wrote in a tweet, which has since been deleted.

Berger's tweet quickly sparked controversy and debates across social media.

The controversy also quickly led to CrossFit terminating Berger, whom the company claimed was a "legal researcher" at CrossFit, not the "chief knowledge officer" as he had claimed, according to Deadspin.

Amid the controversy surrounding the Indianapolis gym and Berger's tweets, the official CrossFit Twitter account posted multiple messages affirming its support for diversity and the LGBTQ community.

A number of CrossFit gyms across the U.S., including CrossFit Naptown, another CrossFit affiliate in Indianapolis, also shared messages of LGBTQ support.

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Portraits of pride in Los Angeles
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Portraits of pride in Los Angeles

Khuong Lam, 35, poses for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. Lam said: "What are you doing? What have you done to our country? I love this country."

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Dalyan Johnston, 14, (L-R) Lisa Rubio, 51, and Isabel Balboa, 50, pose for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. Balboa said: "He's not going to change so we're going to change America because he's not going to change us."

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Samantha Jaque-Anton, 16, poses for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. Jaque-Anton said: "I� talk to him about how difficult it is to live in a place where people are discriminated against and ask him to look at the world through our eyes and my eyes and my mother's eyes and all my friends around me and to see how his America has changed us." 

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Tommy Craven, 24, poses for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. Tommy said: "When you see people out at Pride representing trans rights, representing gay rights, representing everybody's rights, none of that is inclusive in anything that he's putting forward. How do you expect our country to be great if a large part of the population is being kept out of that equation?" 

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Katrina, 25 (L), and Devon, 22, pose for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. Katrina said: "There are so many issues that young people really, really care about because it's our future and our children's future. We're afraid."

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Dale Rowse, 47 (L), and his husband John Allen, 53, pose for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. Allen said: "If Trump had been transparent from the word go at lot of this wouldn't have happened and clearly he has something to hide because he's not transparent. It's just really telling and it's just unfortunate that we have to do these things and march. It's very sad that we're going backwards; it's very disappointing. You have hope for people but he has really just let everybody down."

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Loris Queen, 22, poses for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S., June 11, 2017.

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Jao Belanders, 22, poses for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. Belanders said: "Why so much hate? It baffles me how someone can have so much hate in their heart and inequality and think that's OK and that's power. As president, he should be a leader who inspires hope and change for the better and not influence people to think negatively of other people. It breaks my heart to see that."

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Brenda Coston, 47, poses for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S. June 11, 2017. Coston said: "I would say to him that love is love and women are not second class citizens; they have as many rights as anyone. People are people. Love is love. Equal rights for everyone. That's why I'm here today." 

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Cristian Cifuentes, 47, (L), and Sister Teryn McCloseoff, 41, pose for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S. June 11, 2017. Cifuentes said: "As Americans, we don't believe in hate, we believe in hope. We want a country that is accepting of any kind of race, religion or just choice to love whomever you want to. So, I don't agree with his choices, I don't agree with anything he does and I really hope that Americans wake up and reelect representatives who really look out for their rights."

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Marisol Ramirez, 46, (L), and Stephanie Hall, 37, pose for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. Ramirez said: "What I would say to Trump is to please consider the ramifications of his words, his actions. All that he's doing and saying is perpetuating hate in our environment. It's not good for our future, it's not good for our children." 

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Daniel Jennings, 24, poses for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. Jennings said: "It's not America First, it's Humanity First. We're all equal; it doesn't matter what country you're born in. It doesn't matter where you emigrate to and where you end up. We're all humans and we need to value human lives the same."

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Jessica Kilbury, 29, poses for a portrait during the Resist March against President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. Kilbury said: "Please give rights to my friends, my family, my brothers and sisters and make equality available for everyone." 

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

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