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Peloton Lets Users Connect via Hashtags Like #BlackLivesMatter but Bans This Conservative Phrase

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Does connected fitness equipment manufacturer Peloton have something against people named Brandon? Because if you try to root for them on its platform using the hashtag #LetsGoBrandon, it gets blocked.

According to the Washington Examiner, the company confirmed Thursday that it was blocking the hashtag from personal profiles. PJ Media had first reported the ban on Wednesday.

“We welcome Members from all walks of life to represent themselves through their Tags or by having thoughtful conversations in our groups,” Peloton told the Examiner in a statement.

“However, we have a zero tolerance policy against divisive, explicit, or other content that violates our policies. We actively moderate our channels and have removed Tags that span the political spectrum, while still allowing Members to express themselves using Tags like #WomenForTrump.”

According to PJ Media, the phrase — which entered popular culture after an NBC reporter at a NASCAR Xfinity Series race misheard a “F*** Joe Biden” chant as “Let’s go, Brandon” — is one of several conservative tags that aren’t allowed on the service.

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Peloton makes bikes and treadmills with large screens, guided workouts and a user community that spans the globe.

Last year, the company introduced hashtags to “provide a more robust way for our Members to connect with one another through shared interests or identity” and to make “the in and out of class experience feel more personal and relevant.”

“Our Tags feature was inspired by the sub-communities that came together online as a result of Members connecting over shared interests on the Leaderboard—whether that’s an alma mater, favorite instructor or sports team (and so much more!),” Peloton said in a post on its website on Oct. 19, 2020.

“With Tags, Members can represent not only their Leaderboard name but also the many facets of their identity. Below, meet three of our Members featured in our #MyPelotonReason commercial and the Tags they show up with,” it said.

Peloton owners can use the tags to not only connect with other users but even to take a class filtered by tag. However, the company has limitations on what tags can be used.

“Hateful, offensive, or obscene speech is strictly forbidden on the Peloton Service,” the guidelines read.

“This includes any leaderboard names, locations, profile pictures, Tags or any other User Content that promotes, relates to, or condones lack of respect, discrimination, or violence of any kind against individuals or groups based on age, ethnicity/culture, race, nationality, immigration status, disability status, physical ability, gender or gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, religion, veteran status, body shape, socio-economic status, or political affiliation.”

It probably won’t surprise you that a hybrid tech-fitness company is left-leaning; in April, The Daily Wire reported that the company’s employees were forced to undergo “anti-racist” training.

In one of the programs, the conservative outlet said, employees were taught that terms such as “blacklisting” and “grandfathered in” had “white supremacist/racist origins.”

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Ibram X. Kendi, one of the country’s biggest “anti-racist” grifters, was also brought in to give a talk.

However, the depth of the hypocrisy in terms of which tags are allowed and which ones aren’t may give you a little bit of a surprise.

For instance, the #BlackLivesMatter community has 268,000 members and counting. The #AllLivesMatter community doesn’t exist, since the tag is verboten.

#DefundThePolice is permitted and has over 200 members. Earlier this year, however, #StopTheSteal and #TrumpWon were banned.

The community allows some conservative hashtags — including #ImpeachBiden and #WomenForTrump — but its tolerance for political affiliation appears to skew very much in one direction.

This is particularly true with #LetsGoBrandon, which the left has tried to smear as a sign of extremism without evidence to that effect. It’s not particularly obscene, particularly since it’s so far removed from the original viral clip that spawned it that the obscenity is an afterthought.

And yet, you have The Associated Press running articles calling it “code” and “a not-so-secret handshake that signals they’re in sync with the party’s base.”

On Twitter, CNN analyst and former FBI agent Asha Rangappa equated a Southwest Airlines pilot who allegedly said the phrase over the PA system of his plane with a hypothetical pilot who did the same thing but used the phrase “long live ISIS” instead.

She doubled down on this comparison in a subsequent tweet, implying “Let’s go, Brandon” could potentially be more menacing: “ISIS didn’t run planes into buildings. They didn’t exist in 2001. MAGA did attack the Capitol, attempt to overthrow the government of the United Stares, and threaten to hang the Vice President. So.”

Right.

Unlike social media behemoths such as Facebook and Twitter, Peloton’s social media element is limited and the product isn’t exactly pervasive — which doesn’t make the move quite as chilling. You can certainly exercise without one.

As for conservatives who’ve already bought a Peloton, two who talked to PJ Media weren’t thrilled with the situation.

“They force every left-wing thing down your throat and we can’t have a ‘Let’s Go Brandon’?” Peloton user Shannon said.

“For a company who claims to be so inclusive, they sure do alienate a big portion of its members,” said Stephanie, another conservative Peloton user. “Attempting to silence our voices will not silence us. It will only grow our will to speak louder.”

What’ll speak volumes, in the end, is how many conservatives decide to stay away from Peloton after this.

Sure, when you buy a shoe from Nike, you may be well aware the company has liberal values. With Peloton, however, those values are always right in front of you — on a screen connected to a community policed by people with thinly veiled contempt for you.

To say that’s not a selling point is a distinct understatement.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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