CrossFit founder Greg Glassman stepped down from his role as CEO on June 9 after one of his tweets was met with widespread backlash.
Business Insider has obtained a 50-minute audio clip in which two people — a male and a female — can be heard talking. The woman has identified herself to Business Insider as Lisa Lugo, a former CrossFit employee. Three sources allege the male voice in the video is Glassman’s.
In the clip, the man can be heard saying to Lugo, “It’s enough for me to slit your fucking throat.”
The man can also be heard using the N-word on one occasion.
Business Insider spoke with CrossFit insiders, some of whom claimed it was a toxic workplace where women were demeaned and employees lived in fear of getting on Glassman’s bad side.
Eight former employees claimed that fraternization was common at the company, both within the senior CrossFit staff member circle and between senior staff members, the rest of staff, and seminar staffers.
Glassman told Business Insider he was in an “off again, on again” relationship with Lugo and that he did not recall making the threats described in the audio.
“You told me you’re tired of my lies. It’s enough for me to slit your fucking throat, is the truth.”
That’s part of an explosive, 50-minute audio clip obtained by Business Insider in which a man threatens a woman and repeatedly makes abusive statements.
Lisa Lugo, a former employee who worked in affiliate relations at CrossFit at the time, told Business Insider that she recorded the audio on her phone at a big company event in Montana in 2011. Lugo alleged the man in the audio is Greg Glassman and that she is the woman in the clip.
Andy Stumpf, a former Navy Seal and CrossFit HQ staffer from 2007 to 2014, also alleges the voice in the entire audio is Glassman’s. A third source, who heard a portion of the audio and asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, also alleges the voice is Glassman’s.
“I had my phone under the pillow because I was like, no one’s going to believe me,” Lugo told Business Insider in a phone call. “So I was recording everything.”
Lugo said she was involved in an affair with Glassman between approximately 2009 and 2014. For part of that time, Glassman was married to his second wife and CrossFit cofounder, Lauren Jenai. Both Jenai and a spokesperson for CrossFit separately and previously told Business Insider that Glassman was involved in a relationship with an employee during and after his marriage.
When reached by phone, Glassman told Business Insider he was at the 2011 event and in an “off again, on again” relationship with Lugo at the time. He said he did not recall making the threats described in the audio. A representative for CrossFit declined to comment on it.
A confrontation in a Montana hotel room during a 2011 CrossFit summit
The weekend of August 18-21, 2011, was host to CrossFit’s annual Summer Affiliate Gathering in Big Sky, Montana.
The event was held at Big Sky Resort, a sprawling ski resort in southwestern Montana that includes four hotel properties, a variety of vacation rentals, and more than 5,800 skiable acres. A CrossFit representative did not comment on how much it cost the company to host the event.
Affiliate gym owners from around the world gathered with CrossFit’s corporate HQ members for the annual event. In a video posted on the official CrossFit YouTube channel on March 23, 2011, footage shows people mountain biking, lifting weights in front of a lake, and competing on a variety of obstacle courses.
“There’s not going to be a lot of sitting in a boardroom listening to speakers,” promises the woman narrating the video. She goes on to say Coach Glassman — as Glassman was referred to in the CrossFit community — would be addressing the affiliate gym-owner community on Saturday morning after breakfast.
“We’re going to kick off the event with a tailgate party … outside, under the stars, live music, beers,” says the narrator.
“It was a big event,” said another former CrossFit employee who attended the conference and requested their name be withheld for fear of retribution. “We took over the entire resort. I just remember it was just crazy. People stayed up really, really late and were really, really intoxicated.”
The CrossFit representative told Business Insider that the summit was a family event, and that while some people probably did stay up late drinking, it was not the purpose of the event.
Lugo said that over the weekend of the 2011 affiliate gathering, she and Glassman were sharing a hotel room. In the phone call with Business Insider, Glassman disputed that the two had shared a room, though he said their paths might have crossed in one of the rooms.
Lugo said she had recently found out Glassman was involved in a sexual relationship with another woman and that she was angry about it. When she confronted Glassman about it, he began to “destroy” the hotel room, she alleged. When reached by Business Insider, a spokesperson for Big Sky Resort said the hotel no longer had records from 2011 that would show any reported damage to a room.
Lugo said she started recording the conversation with her phone under her pillow after Glassman started to damage the hotel room.
“I think I recorded it to listen to it myself the next day to make sure I wasn’t crazy, because he would tell me it didn’t happen,” she told Business Insider.
The audio opens with Lugo saying she wants to go to bed and the man asking her if she wants him to leave. “You just broke the lamp off the wall,” she says, to which the man replies, “So what?”
Shortly thereafter, the man, who Lugo alleges is Glassman, asks her why she calls him names and lies to him. “What names did I call you?” Lugo asks.
In response, the man can be heard saying: “You told me you’re tired of my lies. That’s enough for me to slit your fucking throat is the truth. You’re nowhere near honest to me and I’ve poured my fucking soul out to you.”
When the man offers to go sleep somewhere else, Lugo says, “No. Can I? Can I just go downstairs?”
The man responds: “Careful what you do right now. It could just go horrible. I fucking need you and I get nothing. I have nothing.”
And that’s just in the first five minutes of the audio.
Glassman told Business Insider he remembers arguing with Lisa and a lamp getting knocked over, but could not confirm it happened at this event. He said he has no memory of threatening Lugo.
A profanity-laced exchange
The exchange continues on with the man telling Lugo, in various parts, that she is a “pathological fucking liar,” a “piece of shit,” and an “evil whore.” Glassman denied any recollection of using these terms.
When the conversation returns to the broken lamp mentioned in the beginning of the audio, the man says: “I’ll break the lamp, the windows, and your skull. I won’t take any … kind of nonsense from you [indecipherable audio]. I’m a real human being with real feelings.”
He goes on to tell Lugo that she is “abusive” and “using” him, though he does not specify for what.
According to Lugo, Glassman paid her upwards of $7,000 per month on top of her salary while she was a CrossFit employee. He also bought her at least one car and paid for some improvements to her home, she said. Glassman could not confirm to Business Insider that he had made such payments.
At various intervals over the rest of the audio, the man continues to tell Lugo that she’s a liar and that she’s betrayed him.
Both voices in the audio make what appear to be multiple references to outside relationships. At one point, the man tells Lugo that she has been “betraying him endlessly” with two men and “that other n—-r.”
Glassman told Business Insider he didn’t recall making the alleged racial slur.
In the audio, the man makes multiple references to Lugo’s drinking habits. He calls her a “drunkie” and the two have an exchange over how many drinks she’d consumed that night.
Lugo told Business Insider that Glassman paid roughly $100,000 per month for her to spend three months at Passages, a high-end rehabilitation facility in Malibu, California in 2014. Soon after she completed the program, Lugo was let go from the company. Business Insider called Passages to confirm their rates but did not hear back by time of publication.
Glassman confirmed to Business Insider that CrossFit paid for Lugo to spend three months at Passages.
Some of Glassman’s former professional contacts also allege that the founder was known for his drinking.
“He did like his Coors Light,” Quiana Welch, a weightlifter and former HQ staffer, told Business Insider. “Whenever we were together, that was his beverage of choice.”
Two other former employees said that Glassman drank excessively at work events.
One contractor who worked with CrossFit said he’d also seen Glassman drink to excess. “You go to a business meeting and the guy has eight margaritas and goes face down in a salad,” the contractor told Business Insider.
Glassman denied allegations that he drank to excess at work events. He said he was usually one of the more sober people at such events and among the first to leave.
‘I’m fucking miserable, Lisa’
Toward the end of the audio, the man — alleged to be Glassman — seems to lament his future outlook, saying, “I think I’ve misdirected my life’s efforts. I’ve been trying to build a relationship with you around this company.”
And later still: “I hate where I’m at. I hate my life. I’m 55 years old and I got no real fucking future. Not with you.”
Multiple times throughout the audio, Lugo can be heard urging the man to go to bed, noting that the event is “about all the affiliates that are here, and it’s about the Reebok crew that’s here.” Reebok, the company’s biggest sponsor, signed a 10-year partnership with CrossFit in 2011. (After Glassman’s June 6, 2020, tweet about George Floyd, Reebok announced it would not be renewing its relationship with CrossFit at the end of this year.)
When she tells him good night, there’s a long pause before he replies, “I’m fucking miserable, Lisa.” There is some more talking and she cries.
The audio ends with both parties seeming to prepare for bed.
Glassman gave a speech to affiliates the next morning, Lugo told Business Insider.
When asked about allegations that he was distracted during his speech, Glassman told Business Insider that although he remembers fighting with Lugo throughout their relationship, it did not distract him from doing his job.
Former employees say it was a ‘toxic,’ misogynistic workplace
On June 9, less than a month ago, Glassman stepped down as CEO of CrossFit. Two weeks later, he announced he would be selling the fitness brand to Eric Roza, owner of the affiliate gym CrossFit Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado. Glassman was not able to comment on the sale to Business Insider.
In an investigation published June 20, Business Insider spoke to more than 30 former Crossfit HQ employees and current and former affiliate gym owners. Some of these former HQ employees said that Glassman ran a “toxic” workplace in the company’s main offices in Scotts Valley, California. Per some of their accounts, employees were consumed by a fear of getting on Glassman’s bad side.
“Greg can be very narcissistic — if things aren’t going his way, he can be vile,” Glassman’s ex-wife and CrossFit cofounder Lauren Jenai told Business Insider. “And a day later, he can be happy-go-lucky and light-hearted. He’ll get loud and use aggressive language and threatening language.”
Sources said Glassman was known for his generosity. On one occasion, they said, he handed out iPads in the office, and he would frequently treat affiliate owners to dinner after seminars. Some sources, however, also claimed that he was at the core of a misogynistic culture at the company.
One former employee in the IT department said that the company’s main office in Scotts Valley, California, was an environment where “drawing penises on everything” was “commonplace.”
Three former employees, including Stumpf, told Business Insider that female staffers would sometimes be booked in the same hotel room or even in private houses with Glassman or other senior male staffers on business trips.
“It was an open secret as to who was potentially in the sexual crosshairs for Greg,” Stumpf said on his June 12 podcast. “Whether that manifested for uncomfortable travel arrangements, for female staffers with Greg, [it was] one hotel room booked.”
The CrossFit spokesperson declined to comment on the alleged travel arrangements. Glassman did not respond to a request for comment regarding the arrangements.
The former IT employee described a July 2015 incident in Glassman’s private box at the Reebok CrossFit Games in which Glassman referred to CrossFit’s legal team — which consisted entirely of women, save for chief counsel — as his “group of hot lawyer chicks” in front of business associates from Reebok and CrossFit employees.
And per three former HQ staffers, the WiFi password at CrossFit’s office in Solana Beach and at Glassman’s home outside of Santa Cruz, where he sometimes hosted employees, was “wetp—y.”