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Planet Fitness faces Bud Light-style boycott which may send PLNT shares crashing

Planet Fitness faces Bud Light-style boycott which may send PLNT shares crashing

One year ago, Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) – Bud Light when translated into regular English – faced a severe backlash after an ill-conceived marketing campaign featuring Dylan Mulvaney, a trans influencer.

The campaign turned into a controversy which, in turn, led to a boycott that caused – at one point – a stock market bloodbath that saw BUD fall from about $64 in April to approximately $55 in September. While the boycott persisted into the fourth quarter of 2023, a surprisingly strong earnings report rendered it relatively ineffective in October.

On March 19, Planet Fitness (NYSE: PLNT) – a U.S. franchisor and operator of fitness centers – appeared in danger of suffering the same fate after it suspended the membership of one Patricia Silva. 

Silva was suspended after violating company policy by taking a photograph of a trans woman shaving in the women’s locker room. 

The move turned into a greater controversy after a popular reactionary X page – Libs of TikTok – drew attention to the matter.

The post accused Planet Fitness of endangering women’s spaces with its policies and called for a boycott of the company, sparking a stock market crash that saw PLNT drop 7.38% in a single day and the company lose $400 million in market cap.

PLNT stock price chart

While the controversy had a quick impact on the stock price of Planet Fitness and saw a major Tuesday drop, it is yet to turn into a broader issue and PLNT shares have since recovered significantly. 

At Tuesday’s open, Planet Fitness stock stood at $59.35 and crashed to $56.50 by the day’s end, but closed on Thursday at $58.86 after a 3.43% daily rise. 

If the extended session is taken into account, PLNT recovered nearly all its losses since March 19 as it stands, at press time, at $59.35 having climbed another 0.83% in the premarket.

PLNT stock 5-day chart. Source: Google

Despite the recovery, the danger of an organized boycott persists, and even without a Bud Light-style effort, Planet Fitness stock is down 1.90% in the last five days of trading.

Furthermore, PLNT has been experiencing a greater downtrend since the sudden departure of its long-time CEO, Chris Rondeau in September 2023.

For example, the last 30 days saw Planet Fitness stock drop 5.64% and the company’s shares are 19.33% in the red year-to-date.

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