The allegations against SoulCycle NYC keep coming: All the new stories
Star SoulCycle instructors are under fire for a ton of unsavory allegations. The company’s been accused of fat shaming & racism, and some of the higher-ups have been alleged to have sex with clients while on the job, according to The New York Post.
Pregnancy discrimination claims
Forbes previously reported SoulCycle has been in hot water before, making headlines for discrimination. Jordan Kafenbaum who’d been with SoulCycle for seven years, filed a pregnancy discrimination complaint against SoulCycle because according to her, she was “demoted after disclosing her pregnancy.” Kafenbaum also claimed she was laid off “thirty-two days after giving birth.”
Forbes explained Jordan Kafenbaum didn’t believe the company upheld equality & inclusion standards in accordance with the law. However, a SoulCycle representative countered Kafenbaum was laid off due to “necessary restructuring due to the impact of Covid-19.”
Kafenbaum was just the beginning of many more allegations to come. Jennifer Brody, an African-American woman, taught a SoulCycle class back in August 2014. The New York Post reported Brody was ready for master instructor Conor Kelly’s class when the trouble began.
Brody changed her clothing and placed a bandana on her head. Brody waited for the class and was insulted by Kelly. Allegedly, Kelly said “Whoa, Aunt Jemima!” after noticing her bandana.
The New York Post confirmed the exchange between Kelly & Brody reportedly took place in the company’s studio lobby in Palo Alto. Brody claimed the instructor felt it was alright to call her “Aunt Jemima” which she said was simply “disgusting.”
The disgust with the “Aunt Jemima” moniker comes from a popular syrup & pancake brand mascot in the U.S. The Daily Mail reported the term has racist origins as it invoked the “Mammie” stereotype, related to the slavery practices in the U.S. where a black woman would be a white child’s nanny. Aunt Jemima was discontinued as a brand mascot in June, 2020.
Conor Kelly has come under fire multiple times for alleged misconduct at work. Business Insider spoke to a source close to Kelly, who claimed he sent nude photos of himself to some members This former senior employee told Business Insider about how these photos would be sent to riders specifically in his class, and how the photos would travel very quickly.
Business Insider confirmed SoulCycle’s investigation into inappropriate behavior started with Conor Kelly, Laurie Cole, Mike Press and Janet Fitzgerald. These instructors didn’t comment on the situation, but their clients alleged several instances of misconduct.
People reported members of SoulCycle’s staff & executives have spoken on and off the record regarding the numerous scandals. This includes the company deciding to keep these staff despite their incorrect behavior.
According to The Daily Mail, a “master instructor” Lauri Cole has three people accusing her of fat-shaming colleagues & employees. Cole allegedly “ordered managers to remove staff” from shifts if they weren’t in a specific body image.
An anonymous executive decided to leave after being with the company for less than two years. Via People Magazine, the former executive claimed “SoulCycle lacked an internal system to document or monitor complaints against instructors.”
In response, SoulCycle sent the following statement to People:
“At SoulCycle, our priority has always been to build a community centered on our core values of diversity, inclusion, acceptance and love. When we receive complaints or allegations related to behavior within our community that does not align to our values, we take those very seriously and both investigate and address them. We are committed to continuing to make improvements and ensuring that we live up to the values that our teams and riders expect of us.”
Allegedly, there are more investigations against SoulCycle for discriminatory & inappropriate actions from its employees. The gym franchise can be found in almost every city, including New York, Denver, Chicago, Texas and many more.