The actor poked fun at the controversial holiday commercial by giving his real-life girlfriend one of the expensive exercise bikes as a Christmas present

By Maria Pasquini
December 27, 2019 02:15 PM
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Take two!

Actor Sean Hunter — a.k.a. the “Peloton Husband” — poked fun at the controversial holiday commercial by giving his real-life girlfriend one of the expensive exercise bikes as a Christmas present this year.

On Thursday, the actor posted a shot of the pair smiling together while posing by the Peloton, which was decorated with a festive red and white bow.

“Merry Christmas to my actual girlfriend (pls don’t leave me)??,” he added, while jokingly addressing the criticism that has surrounded the ad since it was released last month.

In November, Peloton released the holiday commercial, which centers around a husband, who is mostly offscreen, who gifts his wife the expensive stationary bike. The ad ends with the couple watching a video the wife filmed documenting her year-long fitness journey, as she thanks her husband for changing her life.

The commercial quickly went viral, with many people calling the storyline was “sexist” and saying that the wife looked afraid.

Sean Hunter and Monica Ruiz
| Credit: Peloton

Actress Monica Ruiz, who plays “Peloton Wife” partially blamed herself for the backlash, telling Today co-host Hoda Kotb earlier this month, “Honestly, I think it was just my face.”

“It was my fault! My eyebrows looked worried, I guess? People were like, ‘You look scared.’ I’m telling you, it was my face, that was the problem, and then it just exploded it from there,” she said, adding that she initially decided to stay out of the spotlight because she thought the backlash would “blow over.”

But Ruiz explained that her tune changed after she saw the story wasn’t going away. “I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll just let everyone know I’m fine. I’m okay, I’m not in a rehab for mental health anywhere.’ ”

As for her decision to star in a commercial for Ryan Reynolds‘ Aviation Gin, which hilariously made light of the stressful Peloton aftermath, Ruiz said she was hesitant at first because she didn’t want to rub anyone the wrong way. “But they assured me that it was just an idea that was just taking air out of the situation,” she said.

Monica Ruiz in Aviation Gin commercial
| Credit: aviation gin

Hunter previously told PEOPLE that while he’s enjoyed addressing the backlash and having his voice heard, Ruiz is more private — despite the Aviation Gin gig.

“She’s not feeling as outspoken as me, whereas I’m happy to share my story,” he tells PEOPLE. “I think it’s important to discuss these issues and address the reasons why people feel this way.”

Hunter added that he hasn’t felt the impact of the internet’s swift Peloton takedown. “I’ve been sent a few negative messages on Instagram, but the majority has been positive,” he said.

Despite the flood of criticism, Peloton has stood by their holiday commercial.

“We constantly hear from our members how their lives have been meaningfully and positively impacted after purchasing or being gifted a Peloton Bike or Tread, often in ways that surprise them,” a company spokesperson previously told PEOPLE in a statement.

“Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey,” the spokesperson continued. “While we’re disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial, we are encouraged by — and grateful for — the outpouring of support we’ve received from those who understand what we were trying to communicate.”