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Fitness Guru Jumps Line for Her COVID Shot

Stacey Griffith of SoulCycle apologizes after torrent of criticism
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2021 1:59 PM CST

(Newser) – If there's one thing fans of high-profile fitness instructor Stacey Griffith can take solace in these days, it's that she is the rare celebrity who knows how to deliver an unqualified apology. "I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for my recent action in receiving the vaccine," wrote the SoulCycle instructor on Instagram. "I made a terrible error in judgment and for that I am truly sorry." As her apology references, Griffith got into hot water over her COVID vaccination—specifically how she cut in line to get it. Coverage:

  • The shot: On Friday, the 52-year-old boasted in a since-deleted Instagram post that she had received the first dose of "Moderna magic" in Staten Island, reports the Washington Post. She also thanked a few people for helping her navigate the paperwork involved. The backlash was fast and furious, with critics wondering how and why a SoulCycle instructor jumped ahead of health care workers, seniors, teachers, etc., who are still waiting for their shots, per People. Fitness instructors are not supposed to be among those currently receiving shots in New York.

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  • Her defense: Griffith initially defended herself, telling the Daily Beast she was an "educator" in her own way. "It’s my priority daily to keep my community and their respiratory systems operating at full capacity so they can beat this virus if they are infected by it," she said. "I can only teach to them if I am healthy myself.”
  • Company responds: That justification did nothing to appease critics, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I don’t think someone who shows up and says, ‘Hey, I’m a SoulCycle instructor’ should have qualified unless there’s some other factor there," he says. "That should have been caught in the application process.” SoulCycle itself has responded to the controversy by declaring that its instructors are not "educators" and should not do what Griffith did, reports Vox. It also took pains to point out that Griffith acted on her own.
  • Bigger picture: The Vox post by Alex Abad-Santos sees the controversy as part of a larger problem. "Even though there are rules about who is able to get the vaccine, being affluent and well-connected may help someone jump the line." Not helping is that SoulCycle is generally seen as a luxury product for affluent people. "That Griffith can get the vaccine symbolizes how easy it can be for rich people to get whatever they want, ahead of everyone else, especially those who qualify under NYC’s guidelines and haven’t yet been able to schedule an appointment."
(Read more SoulCycle stories.)

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