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Peloton Makes Big Content Change, Effective Immediately

The fitness company made the decision following a 'significant class purge overnight' last month.

Peloton, the at-home fitness company, was a prominent success story early on in the pandemic, when gyms (and everything else) closed and everyone was stuck at home.

But those successes have reversed as societal restrictions have been lifted. And for the fiscal 2023 first quarter ended Sept. 30 the company reported a wider loss on a 23% decline in its top line. 

"We believe near-term demand for Connected Fitness hardware is likely to remain challenged," the company said in its most recent earnings call.

"While we have been able to grow more than we anticipated just two years ago, fluctuations in demand and supply that we have been navigating during this time period led us to grow our operations beyond what we believe is currently best suited to our business," the company stated in its Q1 2023 10-Q.

Peloton's Latest Drama: Kanye West

Peloton features many artists in its studio exercise classes, and some of these classes feature explicit or offensive content. In fact, thousands of classes include songs by rapper Kanye West, who has been in hot water for months now over a slew of antisemitic and other inflammatory remarks.

In recent months, West, who now goes by Ye, saw his net worth crater following a flurry of antisemitic remarks he made on Twitter and in other public forums last year. The rapper was banned by Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Free Report in October and disavowed by a number of his partner brands, including Balenciaga, Gap  (GPS) - Get Free Report, Adidas  (ADDDF) , and JP Morgan  (JPM) - Get Free Report.

Adidas, which formerly had a high-profile partnership with Ye, is estimated to have lost in excess of $650 million by cutting ties with the rapper. 

It's estimated that the firestorm has cost West at least $400 million of his net worth. And that figure may be dropping as a large portion of his fortune comes from music royalties.

Now, Peloton has made a major decision, effective immediately, that'll affect all its members.

Peloton Cancels and Deletes Kanye West Classes

Following instructor Alex Toussaint's decision not to play any music by West, Peloton stated it will no longer feature any songs from the rapper in its content library.  

"I do not support hate speech whatsoever," Toussaint said wrapping up his 7 p.m. Hip Hop ride in October.

"This means our instructors are no longer using his music in any newly produced classes and we are not suggesting any class that includes his music in our proactive recommendations to Members," Peloton told blog Pelobuddy in a statement, adding the decision would be effective "immediately." 

Eagle-eyed members may have noticed that Peloton actually began deleting old classes from its library in December. Starting on Dec. 6, the undertook a "fairly significant class purge overnight," according to Pelobuddy. The purge continued through Dec. 9, with over 1,000 classes removed without notice or warning.

The purge came months after Peloton's October claim that it would no longer play West's music in its new classes. Members can no longer search for music or themed classes featuring the embattled rapper. Prior to the purge, members could still access more than 1,000 classes featuring West. Over 600 cycling and 151 tread classes alone are now gone for good.

"We do occasionally remove classes for a variety of reasons including quality, legal or contractual considerations, or simply lack of usage from our Members. We apologize for any inconvenience that these changes may have caused," Peloton told Pelobuddy in a statement before the Kanye West classes were purged.

It's unclear how much Peloton may lose from its West purge, if anything. But it certainly has a host of its own problems, as more folks ditch their at-home equipment and return to the gym and busy schedules.