Peloton CEO John Foley spoke out Friday about the “unthinkable” death of a child who was tragically pulled under a Tread+ machine and reiterated the company had made a “mistake” in its communication strategy.
“Our heart goes out to any child hurt and the one tragic death, it’s unthinkable,” Foley told Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan, where he also announced new safety features involving the equipment’s software and hardware.
Foley’s comments come three weeks after the Consumer Product Safety Commission urged consumers to stop using the treadmills exercise equipment.
He highlighted the connected fitness company’s commitment to safety following reports of more than 70 incidents and discussed the company’s decision to recall its treadmills after initially pushing back and calling the warning “inaccurate and misleading.”
“Right away when I found out about a child’s death – we had one child’s death and it was tragic and horrible and our heart went out to that family – right away, I emailed every one of our Tread members personally and I said, ‘Listen, treadmills in the home have to be used safely’ and so we’ve been trying to be communicative and transparent with our members,” Foley said.
“But again, I will say we did make a mistake by not engaging with the CPSC in a more productive dialogue,” Foley said.
He insisted that when used properly Peloton treadmills are extremely safe products.
“Through working with the CPSC, what we’re doing now is saying, ‘We can add additional safety features, whether it’s software features or hardware features, that can make them even safer — industry-leading safe, so that even when they’re used improperly, children don’t get hurt,” Foley said.
The CEO then disclosed details about its forthcoming software update that will not allow consumers to start the treadmill products unless they enter a key code, similar to smartphone passcodes, in addition to other safety features.
In a joint statement, Peloton and the CPSC on Wednesday urged consumers who have purchased its treadmills to immediately stop using them and contact Peloton for a full refund. Foley apologized in the statement addressing the recall, which warns that adults, children, pets and objects are at risk of being pulled underneath the back of the treadmill “posing a risk of injury or death.”
“I want to be clear, Peloton made a mistake in our initial response to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s request that we recall the Tread+,” Foley said in the statement on Wednesday. “We should have engaged more productively with them from the outset. For that, I apologize.”
Foley said on GMA he reached out to the family who lost a child though they were not ready to speak at the time.
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