And just like that, Peloton had to publicly deny responsibility for a fictional character's death.
The exercise equipment company's shares have taken a hit following a surprise death in Thursday's premiere of And Just Like That..., the new Sex and the City reboot on HBO Max. The first episode ends with a shocking scene (spoiler alert!) in which a major character, Mr. Big (Chris Noth), works out on a Peloton bike and then suffers a fatal heart attack. Peloton shares fell to a 19-month low in the wake of the episode, dropping 11.3 percent, Variety reports. The company's stock is now down 73 percent for the year, according to CNBC.
Peloton responded to the episode by releasing an official statement by a cardiologist from its health and wellness advisory group, who denied that the Peloton workout was to blame for Mr. Big's 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," Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum said in the company's statement. "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 Peloton told BuzzFeed News the company was aware its bike would be used in the show but that HBO didn't disclose "the larger context surrounding the scene" in advance of the premiere. BMO Capital Markets analyst Simeon Siegel said that while this situation is "unlikely to impact sales," it has sparked questions as to "whether [Peloton] is losing degrees of control over its storytelling, perhaps its greatest achievement to date," per CNBC. Siegel added, "Although all PR is supposedly good PR, it's hard to ignore the changing tide in Peloton's public perception."