Once an accident, twice a pattern? Peloton is speaking out after the season 6 premiere of Showtime’s Billions showed Mike “Wags” Wagner (David Costabile) suffering a heart attack from using their exercise bike.
“We get why these fictional TV shows would want to include a brand that people love to talk about, but Showtime’s use of Peloton’s Bike+ and reference to a Peloton Instructor was not a brand, product or instructor placement, and we did not agree for our brand and IP to be used on this show or provide any equipment,” the company said in a statement to Us Weekly on Monday, January 24. “As referenced by the show itself, there are strong benefits of cardiovascular exercise to help people lead long, happy lives.”
The new episode of the Showtime series aired on Sunday, January 23, and ended with Mike surviving his health scare. One month prior, And Just Like That viewers watched Mr. Big (Chris Noth) die after completing a similar workout. In the first episode of the Sex and the City revival series, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) found her husband collapsed on the floor following a Peloton ride.
At the time, the company noted that the shocking TV death was a reflection of Mr. Big’s lifestyle and not a common result of their at-home gym equipment.
“I’m sure SATC fans, like me, are saddened by the news that Mr. Big dies of a heart attack. Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle — including cocktails, cigars, and big steaks — and was at serious risk as he had a previous cardiac event in Season 6,” cardiologist Suzanne Steinbaum told Us in December 2021. “These lifestyle choices and perhaps even his family history, which often is a significant factor, were the likely cause of his death. Riding his Peloton bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event.”
A spokesperson for the brand went on to tell Buzzfeed News that “HBO did not disclose the larger context of” how the product would be used in the series.
Peloton later teamed up with Ryan Reynolds for an ad featuring Noth, 67, and real-life instructor Jess King, who portrayed Mr. Big’s fitness trainer on the HBO Max series. However, the commercial was pulled after two women came out with sexual assault allegations against the Law & Order alum.
The Hollywood Reporter published the claims in December 2021, with one women — who went by Zoe — detailing how Noth allegedly “rape[d] her from behind” after they met in 2004. Another woman, who used the name Lily in the report, recalled meeting the actor in 2015 and claimed he assaulted her in his New York City apartment.
Noth, who has been married to Tara Wilson since 2012, denied the allegations in a statement to Us, “The accusations against me made by individuals I met years, even decades, ago are categorically false. These stories could’ve been from 30 years ago or 30 days ago — no always means no — that is a line I did not cross. The encounters were consensual.”
After Peloton and Reynolds, 45, removed all content connected to the viral commercial from their social media channels, the exercise company addressed the situation, telling Us, “Every single sexual assault accusation must be taken seriously. We were unaware of these allegations when we featured Chris Noth in our response to HBO’s reboot. As we seek to learn more, we have stopped promoting this video and archived related social posts.”