Peloton Interactive Inc., which has seen its stock battered over the past year, is dealing with another potential PR disaster after a main character on Showtime’s “Billions” was shown suffering a heart attack while using a Peloton machine.
The “Billions” scene comes on the heels of a fatal onscreen Peloton heart attack for a major character on HBO’s “Sex and the City” reboot, “And Just Like That…” in December, which helped send Peloton shares
sinking to their lowest levels in more than a year, at the time
At least this time around, the fictional heart attack — which came in the season premiere of the popular drama series and first aired Friday — was not fatal for the character.
The creators of “Billions” told the New York Times that the scene was shot last spring and the timing with HBO’s similar scene was a coincidence. They added that the scene was recently re-dubbed in post-production to specifically reference the HBO scene.
In a statement similar to its response to the HBO scene, Peloton tweeted Sunday that it did not agree for its brand or product to be used on the Showtime series, and said “cardio-vascular exercise helps people lead long, happy lives.”
Peloton shares sank 24% on Thursday after a report that the interactive exercise-machine company would pause production and lay off a number of staff. Shares recovered 12% Friday after Peloton CEO John Foley adamantly denied the reports.
Late Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that an activist investor, Blackwells Capital, wants Peloton to fire Foley and explore a sale, saying it could be an attractive acquisition target.
The company’s stock boomed during the first year of the pandemic, as more people bought exercise equipment for their homes. But as demand stalled, shares have sunk 83% over the past 12 months, including a 30% slide over the past month.
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