- A Facebook post by PureGym’s Luton and Dunstable branch advertised a special Black History Month workout, saying “slavery was hard and so is this.”
- PureGym removed the Facebook post and apologized, but the personal trainer who posted it then reshared it on his personal Instagram account, before later removing it.
- The post was “wholly unacceptable,” PureGym said, and was not approved or endorsed by the company.
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UK gym operator PureGym has been slammed after a Facebook post from one of its sites compared slavery to an intensive workout.
The post by its Luton and Dunstable gym in southern England advertised a special Black History Month workout, saying “slavery was hard and so is this.”
The workout was titled “12 Years of Slave”, a reference to the movie “12 Years a Slave.”
—BARAC (@BARACUK) October 5, 2020
After intense social media backlash, PureGym issued a statement apologizing “unreservedly” and said it had removed the post “as soon as it was brought to [its] attention.”
The post was “wholly unacceptable,” and not approved or endorsed by the company, the statement said.
“We take this matter extremely seriously and are urgently investigating how and why this post was made,” PureGym said. Each of the company’s 271 gyms has its own social media channels which are run locally, it added.
But the assistant manager of the gym who originally posted the image then reposted it on his personal Instagram and defended the workout. In the caption, the personal trainer, who is Black, explained that he had to remove it from the PureGym Facebook account because “apparently the wording was an issue.” He has since removed the post from his personal account.
The trainer did not immediately reply to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Twitter users expressed their disgust at PureGym’s post, with some saying they would cancel their membership.
Members of the Black community have also condemned the post, with one Twitter user saying: “people like [the trainer] should not represent ‘Black’ culture when they think making a mockery of our history as a gym routine.”
“I just wanna know who woke up this morning and decided comparing a workout to slavery was a good way to commemorate Black history month… Has 2020 not happened at Pure Gym?” another Twitter used said.
Sarah Owen, the Member of Parliament for Luton North, said the “offensive advert shows exactly why we need Black History Month and why the Black Lives Matter movement is so important.”