This post contains a major spoiler for the first season of ‘And Just Like That.’
Peloton is grappling with another media crisis in 2021, although this one is decidedly… stranger. As The Vergereports, Peloton has raced to defend its signature Bike after a scene in the first episode of HBO Max’s Sex and the City revival, And Just Like That, featured the cycling hardware in a less-than-flattering way.
The scene depicted Carrie’s husband Mr. Big, played by Chris Noth, dying of a heart attack soon after he finished a 45-minute Peloton class on the company’s Bike (with real instructor Jess King in a fictional role, we’d add). Peloton is worried viewers might think the Bike was responsible, and not just because the show might hurt sales — the company’s stock price plunged between December 9th and December 10th, and it didn’t get much better by the weekend.
In a statement, Peloton health and wellness advisor Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum argued that Mr. Big’s death likely occurred despite the Bike, not because of it. Big lived an “extravagant lifestyle” that included drinking, smoking and a steak-filled diet, and he’d even had a cardiac incident in SATC‘s sixth season. If anything, Dr. Steinbaum suggested, Big’s riding might have “helped delay” his heart attack.
Peloton also said it was caught off-guard. Spokesperson Denise Kelly toldBuzzFeed News the company was aware an HBO-purchased Bike would be in the episode and that King would portray an instructor, but “confidentiality reasons” prevented it from learning about the tragic plot point until the And Just Like That premiere.
This likely won’t significantly dent Peloton’s sales figures. Still, this probably isn’t the publicity the firm wanted as it grapples with a treadmill recall and stiffer competition from rivals like Bowflex, Echelon and NordicTrack. Peloton may have to hope price cuts, a new strength training camera and a loyal following will help it overcome any hesitancy from Sex and the City fans.