Dear Greg Glassman: What my dead homies would like you to know…

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have Type 1 Diabetes, and am very passionate about bringing awareness to and helping find a cure for this disease.  Of the many daily struggles someone with T1D faces, blame and misinformation are some of the biggest ones.  And actually, that goes for any diabetic, no matter what type you have.  So many people are misguided and misinformed about the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and there are so many myths as to what causes them.  So when I see a company that supposedly represents health and fitness putting insensitive and incorrect information out there, naturally I get angry.

Yesterday, the writer of the Twitter account for the CrossFit Corporation posted an ignorant, mindless, hurtful tweet regarding sugar and diabetes.  In case you didn’t see it, here it is: https://twitter.com/CrossFit/status/615539464232902656

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“Make sure to pour some out for your dead homies.” -Greg Glassman #CrossFit #SugarKills

I feel like based on this alone, whoever writes for this Twitter account should be fired.  Besides the obvious fact that sugar doesn’t cause diabetes, this is blatantly hurtful to those with diabetes and those who have lost someone due to diabetes complications.  But no, it didn’t stop there.  After tons of backlash from diabetics everywhere, CrossFit not only continued to defend this heartless garbage, but continued to perpetuate lies about diabetes under the guise of being a “health and fitness” corporation. So I decided to read their follow-up tweets in response to the backlash they were getting.  I’m now going to debunk some of the most ridiculous of their follow-up tweets in a little segment I’m calling “What my dead homies and I would like CrossFit Corporation to know.”

1. ” Anyone can get T2 diabetes, even those with T1.  Stop assuming we don’t grasp the difference and help us raise awareness.”

Clearly you’re the one not understanding here dude. This is wrong on so many levels.  First off, the original tweet had nothing to do with “raising awareness.”  Stop acting like it did.  It was meant to be a self-righteous insult to those people who the CrossFit people deem “unhealthy.”  Secondly, a Type 1 diabetic CANNOT become a Type 2 diabetic.  Basic biology tells us that is impossible.  Type 1 diabetes is defined as a disease where the body NO LONGER has the cells to produce insulin.  It essentially means your pancreas is just a useless organ taking up space.  Type 2 diabetes means that the body still makes insulin, but uses it incorrectly.  That alone should tell you what you need to know.  There is no way my pancreas can magically start working again and start producing insulin, just to start using it wrong and turn me into a Type 2 diabetic.  A Type 1 diabetic CAN develop insulin resistance, which is a symptom of Type 2.  But, by definition, a T1D can never become T2 because the body will never again produce insulin and therefore you remain insulin dependent.

2.“…know that when we point to big-soda products causing diabetes, we are referring to Type 2 diabetes…”

It’s ok to say that soda is not good for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  But that’s not what CrossFit did here.  What they did was A: Wrongfully name sugar as a CAUSE of diabetes (it isn’t) and B: Shame those with Type 2 diabetes by saying they gave themselves this disease because they drink Coke.  Even if this tweet was aimed at Type 2 diabetics, it’s not ok to shame anyone or blame them for this disease. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and not is not preventable or caused by lifestyle factors.  Type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle, and sugar contributes to that overall, but sugar alone is NOT a cause for Type 2 diabetes.  And here’s a newsflash for you:  If all soda went away tomorrow, diabetes would still exist.

3.” We see tons of T1’s that should know the difference and not get so offended by their own assumptions about what we meant.” AND “…maybe you could explain to your son that our parody is clearly aimed at type 2 diabetes.”

Oh, you’re right CrossFit, I shouldn’t get offended.  What’s offensive about mocking a deadly, chronic illness?  What’s offensive about your corporation spreading false information?  And while we’re on that subject, you’re a fitness corporation.  In what world does that make you qualified to give information or advice about diabetes?  What’s offensive about a parody about death from a horrible disease?  You’re right, it’s all our fault for being so damn sensitive about something that defines our every day activities.

These were just a few of the many tweets that followed.  Instead of clarifying and apologizing for offending millions of people, this person continued to post insulting tweet after insulting tweet.  At this point I am making it my personal mission to complain until this person is fired or the company issues an apology for its conduct.  I can’t fathom what kind of business could be so rude and insensitive to the general public and think they won’t lose customers.  And especially for a company that thinks it’s the ultimate in human fitness, a little research and education could go a long way.  It is completely irresponsible to perpetuate misinformation and encourage disease shaming.

So, Mr. CEO Greg Glassman, I really hope you are learning something in this experience. Now what you need to do is STOP the offensive tweets on this subject. Stop digging yourself an even bigger hole. The diabetes community will now be expecting 2 things from your company: 1: A public apology for shaming all diabetics and spreading out-right lies about diabetes, and 2: A sizeable donation to a diabetes-related charity.  Own up to your mistake and do the right thing.  After all, with so many diabetics in the world, do you really want all this bad publicity?

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