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Chip Wilson, ‘Sad for People of Lululemon,’ Issues Apology to Employees, Asks Customers to Remain Loyal

in Lululemon Pantscapade

chip-wilson-apology

Chip Wilson, Founder of Lululemon, has been through a lot lately, but we can’t dance around the fact that he’s caused most of it himself. Most recently, he’s been under fire for saying in an interview that lulu yoga pants just ‘don’t work’ for some women’s bodies, particularly bodies with thighs that rub together (which, in all honesty, is pretty much the majority of adult females). It’s been a painful few days (years?) for all of us, but this apology video may not make us feel all that much better.

The video, posted November 8 to the Lululemon Youtube account entitled “A Message from Chip Wilson,” shows a weathered Wilson apologizing to employees and accepting full responsibility for his actions. He urges lulu fans to stick with the company and the culture that can not be “chipped away.” To be honest, when we saw the title of the video, we got a bit hopeful, because it seems this guy just can’t catch a break, and it’s never a good feeling to watch someone spiral. And yet, it’s a shame that with all the sadness and sorrys there is nothing addressing the actual offense, the reason why this blew up in the first place: blaming women’s bodies for the yoga pants problems. Even if he believes there was nothing wrong with what he said, taking the time to film a response and deciding to ignore the actual issue is what still remains the real problem.

His full apology transcribed from the 0:52 minute video below:

“Hello, I’m Chip Wilson, I’m founder of Lululemon Athletica. I’d like to talk to you today about the last few days of media that’s occurred around the Bloomberg interview. I’m sad… I’m really sad. I’m sad for the repercussions of my actions. I’m sad for the people of Lululemon who I care so much about that have really had to face the brunt of my actions. I take responsibility for all that has occurred and the impact it has had on you I’m sorry to have put you all through this.

For all of you that have made Lululemon what it is today, I ask you to stay in the conversation that is above fray. I ask you to prove that the culture that you have built can not be chipped away.”

——

Earlier

55 comments… add one

  • S.

    If you get out of the yoga biz, we’ll forgive you. Lululemon represents everything that true yoga (not the 200RYT shit) fights against–greed, delusion, and one minute meditations while taking a piss to name a few. Go after another niche market like Zumba or something. They’d love to have you.

  • .

    ^How does lulu lemon represent everything that yoga stands for by basically turning yoga into a fashion show and charging so much the average person can’t afford their clothes? The concept of yoga as a ‘biz’ in itself flies in the face of what yoga truly stands for. Our western society has commercialized and objectified yoga, and most of us in “the yoga biz” (myself included) are no less guilty than this guy of at some point or another disrespecting and contradicting the true practice and philosophies of Yoga. Just saying, food for thought.

  • S.

    ^If you would learn how to read, you would see that I said Lulu represents everything yoga fights against. I don’t mind people making a living from teaching yoga, what I do mind is when they teach watered down, Westernized, holier-than-thou because I have a young flexible body yoga. I prefer to learn from those who have been doing for over a decade and have had their share of hardships, but yet persevered using yoga as a guide.

  • D.

    My mistake S. Thanks for clearing it up. No need for insults. I understand & appreciate what you’re saying. Peace.

  • Edie Goldman

    Well, I agree with you on the sentiment re: Lululemon, but being a yogini for several years now, who is just getting around to taking the “200RYT shit” course as you call it, is lumping you right in there, below the fray, with the rest of ‘em. Perhaps we could all use a little nonsanctimonius or judgmental self-examination and reflection. It’s me on the mat. Not you.

  • Don’t take the comment personally. It’s not directed at INDIVIDUALS who seek further education, it’s directed at the whole mess created by trying to qualify yoga. There’s nothing wrong with getting training, 200hour, 300 or 500, what has turned into a clusterf*ck (pardon my language) is figuring out how to certify schools.

    In the greed game some studios are selling very very expensive training and churning out unqualified teachers. I mean honestly, in the history of teacher training have you ever known a studio to “fail” someone? Of course not! Too much money is involved. So consumer beware. Equally scary, in the grand cultural disconnect, some highly experienced yoga teachers lack the “approved” 200hr certification. Why? Maybe because they were busy living on ashrams or up in the Himalayans.

  • chris

    S,
    Lululemon is not a brand that I promote however what is wrong being a 200 RYT???? Something just as annoying than Lululemon is the holier-than-thou yogi. Give people a break. Everyone is trying to connect to something, we just don’t all need to own yoga couture to find it. Sitting in padmasana and judging isn’t very yogic either. Think about it.

  • Catiyo

    Amen, Chris! 200RYT’s classes can have more to do with “true” yoga than ERYT500′s. It all depends on the intention of the teacher, and the student his/her class draws. Do you draw the “yogis” who are there for a workout, who care what gear they have and how they look in it, how well they can execute a pose – especially the more challenging ones (attachment/ego based) or, do you draw the TRUE YOGI, who only cares at the end of class that they took the time to slow down, honor and connect with their Self, and did the best they could for that day, including accepting any limitations they experienced that day – without worrying about what anyone else thought about them (not attached) right? I’ve had some pretty crappy classes with ERYT500′s, and some pretty awesome classes with 200RYT’s. So, what does that tell you… S?

  • Thighs that rub

    Why not practice at home where the only b.s. to contend with is your own? And if you do want to practice in public, why not look good while doing it?

  • Mo

    I agree with most of what you said S., except for the Zumba part.
    I am a yogi. I’ve never liked Lululemon and anything similar to it.
    I do Zumba as well. And I can tell you, we would NOT love to have that prick in Zumba.
    But thanks for recommending us and believing that anything besides Yoga represents greed, delusion and one minute meditations.
    If you think that is the only problem and the only thing that’s wrong with everything that happened because of him over the last few days, I am sad for the ‘real’ yoga culture.
    Who cares if he discriminates women in other genres, as long as it’s not yoga, because we are above and beyond it all, right? THIS is something Yoga doesn’t stand for.
    He openly discriminated women’s bodies and isn’t even man enough to actually apologize for what he really should apologize for, instead of being sad for the probable loss of business for his company.
    This is what’s wrong with this picture, and it has nothing to do with Yoga only. And if you can’t see that, especially when you call yourself a real Yogi, I am really sad what this world has come to.

  • Bravo, Mo. It is hard enough that women of all sizes are hard on their bodies in fitness attire. I should know as a yoga instructor and personal trainer, I hear it all day. The offense is not to yoga only it is to humanity. True yoga breaks up into 7 branches if the RYTs here remember. It also states Yamas and NiYamas in which one is Ahimsa: compassion. No harm to another human being. It doesn’t specify no harm to just yogis. No instead it says no human being including yourself.

  • Mo

    I’d want to be taught by a teacher like you, Luna ;)

    I really don’t know why people believe they’re something better once they call themselves Yogi.
    Yes, you become more flexible, yes you figure things out faster and easier than people who didn’t find their way into Yoga, yes if you do it right, you’ll even get all sorts of positive feedback and puzzled looks about what you know others don’t.
    But this is the point in time to share. To help and give as much as you possibly can to make it easier for someone who’s trying to find the right way.
    Why anyone would believe Yoga propagates elitist behavior and thinking, has never heard of actual Yoga.

    People losing sight of those things never were Yogis to begin with and never will be if they don’t take the time to not only do the physical part, but learn what Yoga really is about. As long as they don’t ditch the brainwashed, westernized version of it, they’ll never get it.
    And most of them, sadly, may not even want to, because then they’d lose that “godess-like, rare creature, better-than” image we have established here.

    I practice Yoga and Zumba in the same clothes for example. If it doesn’t matter if you practice in your pyjamas, your sweatpants or anything else, you’re not about Yoga, you’re only about the looks and the image you want to bring across. True Yoga gives no image and doesn’t seek reputation or any kind of gratification in society.

  • Mo,
    you are someone I’d want to practice yoga with, zumba, or anything else for that matter!! I loved what you wrote. thanks!
    I’m so sick of the ‘goddess-wanna-be’s and goddess-followers’ and have never ‘idolized anyone’, especially not a yoga teacher. I’m tired of the ‘better than thou’, and more ‘enlightened than thou’ bunch…because they really are not enlightened at all. Those who truly are, are probably off on some mountain or some remote island alone (naked, not wearing LULU anything) because they can’t relate to anyone anymore…they aren’t around trying to teach us ‘enlightenment’ and charging us boatloads of cash to do so!!
    Finally, wearing Lululemon pants is much less comfortable than my own natural skin. (and my thighs DON”T rub together – so there!!)

  • mae

    Sorry to say but that looks like the face of addiction–I was always too old, too big, and two edgy for his brand…but that puss.. I am sorry to say might be in need of rehab before making another public address.

  • Yeah…….I’m done with Lululemon. I’ll take my rubbing thighs to some other business. I’ve struggled for awhile now to make the break (because I DO like lulu pants – in spite of my ‘touching’ thighs) but I’ve had it. This chubbster will find some other brand to buy.

  • Wow. I am amazed at how people can blow up an issue regarding the functionality of women’s clothing, versus women functioning properly in women’s fashion wear. Being male, my thoughts demand less complication, i.e., if it fits, wear it: if it does not fit, then don’t wear it.
    Fashion is the insistence on wearing that which might not always fit.

  • Blue26

    I agree completely.
    But the problem isn’t really the fact that the majority of women can’t wear Lululemon.
    It’s about the statement of Chippy. Of course you can stop wearing the stuff, but how much farther can you discriminate what women are supposed to look like?
    If a brand is actually proud of propagating clothes only for skinny people, instead of the average person, there’s something fundamentally wrong.
    Size is all what matters these days. Mostly for women.

  • RecycleYogi

    I think I have a position similar to Jason above. Lulu is not for me for a number of reasons, so what? So they like to sell to what most the world classifies as an average size women (remember, most of the world is not as large as the US) and awkwardly talk about it, so what?

    Blue26 – I do not think what Lulu does is different than what Lane Bryant does. Do you find it “fundamentally wrong” when plus size companies talk about how their clothes are for “real” women? Is that not offensive to women who by genes or lifestyle choice aren’t plus size? See both sides of the issue – that plus size, and other size brands, all fill a niche.

  • julia

    Perhaps we should all practice a little forgiveness and compassion instead of snowballing the negativity of the whole situation. Its been done. So lets try to reverse any ill effects the only way we really can, by starting with ourselves.

  • peggy

    Vote and Voice with your wallet people. I teach Yoga not fashion and don’t care what you wear to class, just COME! and Breathe.

  • jenny

    OK…way to go Paula Deen~ Take away your billions and become apologetic!

  • But, he’s not sad for what he said? I’ve been in public relations for more than 20 years, and the first rule of crisis management is to make a sincere apology for the infraction. Second rule, make amends. There was no apology, just that he was “sad for the repercussions of his actions” not the actions themselves. And, it wasn’t sincere. Two words for you, sir. Paula Deen. Two more words, lost empire.

    Yoga is not an elitist movement. It’s supposed to be for everyone. If you want your brand to be continually associated with extremely skinny, rail-thin women, fine. Just remember, that the majority of the women in the population have CURVES. Our thighs rub together. We have butts and boobs. And, guess what? There is a large majority of us who practice yoga because this is the form of exercise that we chose to get us healthy again.

    I purchased my first pair of Lulus a few years ago, and I do love them. But, I’ll never wear them again without thinking of my thighs rubbing together. The fact that my butt is just a little bit bigger than the girl next to me in class, and my boobs sag more than the skinny girl in the corner. But, at least my Warrior III is FABULOUS!

    Get a crisis management firm, and stop talking to the press without learning how to address the situation. Keep your mouth shut about your personal opinions of those women, like me, who are NOT a size 2 or 4. Something tells me you aren’t in your best personal shape. And, if you are, your actions mitigate that. Shame on you.

  • me

    Well said. I wonder if he even practices yoga? He sure doesn’t look in good shape physically or emotionally. Proof that money can’t buy happiness. Many have said Lulu is cultish to work for. They have to do the Forum training. Interesting that the forum which is about empowerment and excellence looks like this? He is not a yogi. That is for sure. He built a brand on false notions and now the castle made in the sand is crumbling.

  • CV

    Once again, you do not know what you are talking about! I won’t go into any more details, but you are unaware and do not have correct facts or information. I know for a fact he IS a yogi who practices daily. I’m sorry he doesn’t fit your mold of what a yogi “should look like!” I guess you are the one that is saying yogi’s should look a certain way or be a certain size to be in good shape. You are angry, have an intense grudge, and need to let it go. You are wasting so much energy on negative things.

  • Grumpy Yogi

    Well if we are going to rag on individuals – am I the only one who wonders what size the fired CEO Christine Day wears? If you have seen her picture, not only does she not look particularly healthy in that yoga way but me thinks at least a 12.

    And one more thing – I agree with RYT 200 as inadequate.

    And one more one more thing – It used to be (dont’ know current status) that you get $1K in free clothes when you become an ambassador. I have one friend who says it is not worth it because you have to do so many free things; another has drunk the Kool Aid.

    How about a new topic – age discrimination in yoga. Ever seen a teacher over 50?

  • VQ2

    Over 70, back in the early 1990s, whose class series I took once.

    68 years old I took several classes from in 2010. Another one in his 50s during that time.

    All taught old school hatha classes.

    The rest were under 50.

  • Semper Fi

    BKS Iyengar will turn 95 next month and still practices 3 hours a day. You’ll never catch him in Lululemon. Most Yogadorks bag on Iyengar yoga and it’s teachers (many of whom are well over 50) who actually correct you instead of blowing sunshine up your arse. But over time I bet it will be the only yoga that outlasts all the trendy stuff. It will certainly outlast Lululemon.

  • I highly recommend Prana for any of you ladies looking for a Luluemon alternative. They make very high quality clothes for ATHLETIC women. Women with structure. Women with intention. Their stuff stands up to everything from climbing rugged rocks, to sweating on the mat, and a lot of their tops are cute enough that you can just throw on a skirt and head from the studio to work.

  • I fit in Lulu clothes just fine, but I happen to prefer Prana as well. They produce things with some fabulous prints, for starters, and I LOVE the workout to casual wear stuff.

  • Prema

    There are companies like “girl skirt mission” that are not corporate owned and put out
    fair trade, organic and wrap style cotton pants that fit all bodies and are worn by yogis around the world. And many more out there. Let’s support small businesses that make the sacrifice of not being corporate to stay true to Yoga.

  • Awww, pity for the poor fool Chip, getting all John Friend style on the Youtubes, looking like he’s been on a four day bender.
    Makes me think of all the LuLu Lemmings at the studio, those are the ones to be sad for.

  • jen

    Yoga is here to easy suffering.

  • BA Barakus

    Unfortunately yoga has become an elitist movement and companies like Lulu added to that elitism by overpricing their goods to add to their “snob appeal” factor for what is in essence clothing made with largely synthetic materials which happen to be largely petroleum-based as well.
    And with Chip Wilson indirectly advocating for “thigh gap” – the new anatomical status symbol which women all need to worry about it would seem in certain circles now (as if they didn’t have enough already), this “I’m Sad” video just doesn’t cut the mustard. Sorry it doesn’t.
    There are plenty of other companies that make athletic wear which is just as functional and at a fraction of the price. Go visit your local TJ Maxx, Winner’s or Marshall’s and you’ll find brand names like Roots Canada as well as other lessor known brands who do the job just fine thankyouverymuch. And let’s not forget the host of ethical companies out there these days that stress fair trade, use of organic cottons and materials, and that are either sourced or made locally and not in places like China or Bangladesh.
    Yoga is a practise, not a scene or a lifestyle, we should be concentrating on our own practice and not on the annoying fashion show in the studio. To only focus on the outer status-symbol trappings of the practice only indicates the puerile nature of “the yoga scene” and the mindset of the lululemmings therein.

  • K Julien

    Your comment is excellent! Very well stated.

  • CV

    @yogadork I find it hard to believe that you were “hopeful” for the apology that you deem acceptable. You clearly have a deeply rooted hate for this company and this man. You continue to publish anything and everything against lululemon, and I get it, you are attracting people to your page and gaining more attention- smart business move. But it is through encouraging more disgruntled people to get overly worked up and go on a rant against something they might know little about or was taken out of context. But if you are a true “yogi” wouldn’t you have an open heart, embrace others (faults included), understand that mistakes happen and that by dwelling on them or bullying the person at fault, you are actually perpetuating terrible feelings in others? I understand people are upset, but what does mustering up hatred for another human or a product actually solving or creating? Please try and find good in what you don’t understand and fuel a conversation that is uplifting, supportive, and beneficial to those around you. I don’t think any apology from lululemon would have been good enough for you, so let it go. Let go. You of all people should know what holding onto anger and hatred creates in ones body and the world- you are a “yogi” after all. I too will probably be ripped to shreds by your page or other angry followers, but i think it’s time we all find something else to dwell on. We don’t live in a perfect world, but think of all the energy we are wasting by picking it and everyone who makes a mistake apart. Take a deep breathe. Find gratitude. Move on. You’ve lost a follower today due to the anger you continue to spread and perpetuate in others. But I wish you luck and strength moving forward. Strength to rise above negative banter and embrace what is needed to elevate others and the practice of yoga. Thank you.

  • K Julien

    I enjoyed reading your comments. I agree with what you said, wholeheartedly. As a Yoga community, it’s unyogi-like (is that even a word) to put negative energy out there or have a difficult time with forgiveness and letting things go. I have never purchased a Lululemon product – mainly because their price range is way higher than I can afford. However, if I were able to afford their clothing, I still wouldn’t make the purchase. It doesn’t mean I am attaching to hate-like behavior. So please don’t assume that people that do not support this organization in light of recent events are haters.

  • Angela

    Looking for the good was one of the major factors in Anusara’s downfall. People were so busy looking for the positive side to everything connected with the system that they missed that the founder and the style were sliding off the rails.

  • Me

    GOOD POINT.

  • Me

    Discernment is a very high tenant of spiritual attainment. “Lead me from the unreal to the real. From darkness to Light.”. We have to use our yogic practice to have clear vision and be able to discriminate between what is wrong and right. Doesn’t imply judgement implies good vision. Right action. He is giving out all kinds of advice and message through this branding so we have to discern what is real and what is false. Having that discernment is not bullying (this article hardly bullies him by stating his apology was a non apology). Nor is it negative to point out something that we perceive as the world now seems to be perceiving as “false”. The basis of the brand is crumbling because it is elitist and it is non yogic in nature while selling yoga clothes. That in itself is enough to say enough.

  • Kirralie

    Well said CV…your words here remind me of why I love Yoga. When it gets to all this finger pointing and telling other people all about their imperfections it reminds me of the wars that have started over people insisting that they were “right” and somebody else was “wrong”. I’m a Yogi a Yoga teacher and a lululemon employee. I’m in this world but not of it. I see beyond the illusion. I decide that there are many ways I can make a difference in this crazy world. Sometimes I’m in the ashram, everyday teaching Yoga and some days of my week working at my job in lululemon believe it or not. They are all very different vehicles for me to use in my quest to uplift the world. I don’t profess that any one of those vehicles is perfect but I’m in this day and age trying to make a difference. Many paths one destination.

  • That was an apology? I’m “sad” that I can’t seem to find one in there. This healthy, thigh-rubbing lady will continue with her $35 Old Navy non-pilling, non-sheering yoga pants, thanks. They haven’t pissed me off yet.

  • Kathy Julien

    If that is your best, heart-felt apology, so be it. It’s better than nothing, I guess. I still, however, will never purchase a Lululemon product. I will encourage Yogis that I interface with to look elsewhere for Yoga-wear, as there are numerous providers in the marketplace who have an understanding of what Yoga is all about. It’s not about body shape – never has been and never will be.

  • VQ2

    Yess!! And I’ve been nearly 110 pounds heavier at one time.

    I had been taking yoga before it had been kewl.

  • Kaitlyn kyle

    If you’re gunna be a technology company, then do it. Let’s see some technologically advanced workout wear. Ask Nike about it. They have no problem outfitting powerful woman like the Williams sisters. Figure it out. Everyone else has.

  • VQ2

    They should have the cojones to take on the Cross-Fit market.

    And the reason why they don’t?

    Uncle Rhabdo doesn’t wear a size 3.

  • Kris

    No apology for his rude insensitive comments? That was NOT an apology bit rather a twisted arm save of face that is targeting to the employees who are the ones he is referring to in his ignorant comments. I was in a local Seattle lululemon were I actually saw three heavier employees. They may be yogis and be healthy otherwise but they are not waif thin. He attacked his own this time.

    He can’t expect his apology to be received well when it’s obvious he is not really apologizing at all, but rather trying to avoid a massive walk out of employees and customers alike with shallow words of chatter.

  • VQ2

    We’ll know for certain this whole debacle has jumped the shark, when he starts apologizing directly to institutional investors in his company – and that apology makes it to U-tube …

  • Are we taking about a line of apparel or a way of living (our yoga)? I am an older yogi and don’t really care about what’s in style for my outer body. It’s the inner one I am working on. Too bad folks like this have so much influence over the yoga community.

  • Tricia Ptak

    Okay, the while RYT issue is valid as folks who take training with no oversight have no way of knowing if they are getting at least the basics. I have seen. Big difference with the quality of teachers from all sorts of programs RYT or not. So let’s table it okay? This Issue with Chip is his right to free speech and basically putting his foot in his mouth ( love to see that pose). These outbursts are a great marketing campaign and all these “yoga” media folks aren’t practicing non-attachment or else it would have been in one ear and out the other. The more attention it gets the more polarized the yoga-wellness world gets.

  • I have been into the Yoga life for almost 44 years. Teaching since 1987. I am 75 years old. I can tell you all that “Yoga clothes” are on the bottom of my priority list. We are in very intense times right now and very much need to be centered and in balance. Lets just hope more and more people can feel what we feel after a class. The peace and centeredness is so important for everyone. Please, let this go and get on with living a good and kind life. Namaste

  • n

    I think it’s interesting that everyone is quick to judge a comment based on how judgmental it is. And to denounce someone while proclaiming denouncement un-yogi-ish. I read a comment I agree with: it is YOU on the mat. Your experience, your time to learn and grow. No matter what you are or are not wearing. I have met many unskilled ryt certified instructors, and some prolific life changing teachers who never bothered with the training. And I have known the reverse to be true. The experience I took away from all these instances is unique to me and the evolution of my practice, physical or otherwise. I am grateful for every teacher and every student I’ve ever encountered. No matter their personal mindset or values. No matter how they approached yoga. No matter what they were wearing.

  • Kirralie

    I work for lululemon and I am a Yoga teacher. I don’t ever think that I am perfect and I don’t think Yogis are perfect and I don’t think lululemon is perfect. The two are separate entities. The lululemon culture is all about elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness. They also believe the more people that do Yoga the better for this planet. And they want to reconnect people, build community. Are they saying they’re perfect? No. They’re honest. They’re making their way. Sure, there are many things about lululemon which are not Yogic (it’s a big company) but does it really need to be Yoga versus lululemon?? I really think there’s things in the world that are far more worthy of criticism. If you don’t like lululemon, don’t shop there. There’s a lot of good stuff happening in the world because lululemon exists. I see it first hand every day. Working there gives me (and a lot of people) a far wider scale to work in in making positive change in the world. Hands on face to face positive interaction every day with people (especially women) fitness leaders and teachers and communities.

  • Kirstan Sanders

    I like the clothes – can afford the clothes, did not buy the clothes for a loooong time b/c I didn’t see the allure. I don’t really like the tights but the jackets, shirts, tanks, leggings… all good. This Chip guy? F**k no, I don’t like him. Stupid dolt. I still like the clothes – they have NOTHING to do with being a yogi but they fit great and are cute as hell; albeit, ridiculously overpriced (again, i pay for it).

    Chip, you IDIOT, you should have kept your big mouth SHUT. Your poor wife, she’s the only reason a lot of people are hanging with your brand. Even if she agreed with you, she looked properly horrified at what was tumbling out of your *hopefully* drunk mouth. Jesus. You really ARE an idiot. You screwed with all the ambassadorship you had going. Nice. Really.. nice job. At least, the PR firms having to deal with the fallout are making a killing. You suck, Chip. Lulu? We’re still good. ;)

  • Alexi

    You have to love all the lululemmings comments here that have their heads full up in Chippy’s assana. Creepy cult behavior and the zombie white privilege that has destroyed yoga in this cesspool of corporate exploration. Boycott Lululemon NOW!

  • chang

    I’m sad. I’m really sad. I’m sad that you won’t spend your money at Lululemon anymore.

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