A gym has faced fierce backlash over its distasteful attempt at using Black History Month to promote an extra tough workout.
The Luton and Dunstable branch of PureGym, in the UK, advertised the controversial workout, “12 Years of Slave”, to social media on Monday (local time), with gym users quick to express their disgust.
“Entitled ‘12YearsofSlave’ (after the epic movie) this is our workout of the month designed by @mattsimpt to celebrate black history month (sic),” the post read.
It then continued to state “slavery was hard and so is this”, which thousands of people had since come to criticise heavily.
The post was referencing the 2013 movie, 12 Years A Slave. For unknown reasons, the trainer changed “a” to “of”.
The trainer behind the post responded to one person pointing out his approach to Black History Month was “interesting” on Twitter.
“What’s so interesting about it? I’ve merely taken the name of an Oscar winning film and given it to a workout having the number of exercises coincide with the number in the title,” his reply tweet read.
The employee and the gym has since faced calls to undergo intense diversity training.
“Oh wow this is embarrassing – please delete this, take some diversity training for all your staff and replace with a long and detailed apology,” one person responded.
“Absolutely ridiculous and offensive! PureGym Luton & Dunstable did you think you were being funny or clever?? The people responsible need to be held accountable,” another said.
The gym has issued an apology following the backlash, saying the “wholly unacceptable” post had been removed.
Community rejects gym’s apology
“PureGym apologises unreservedly for a post regarding Black History Month that was made today by our gym in Luton & Dunstable. This post was wholly unacceptable, was not approved or endorsed by the company and was removed when it was brought to our attention,” the statement shared to Facebook read.
“We take this matter extremely seriously and are urgently investigating how and why this post was made. Thank you to those people who commented on this post and for raising this with us.”
The apology seemed to do little to appease the wider community, with hundreds calling for the sacking of the employee responsible for the post.
“That was genuinely the most tone deaf things I’ve have ever seen. The people behind the idea must be apprehended immediately. It definitely shows the lack of diversity and insensitivity among your staff seeing as the idea managed to be developed and approved so whole heartedly,” one wrote.
“Embarrassing joke of a company. Too late to apologise. Multiple posts have shown that this personal trainer has used the workout before,” another said.
One determined social media user however has scrolled so far through the gym’s Facebook to discover that the trainer spearheaded a similar promotion for Black History Month last year.
“I’ve taken the title of an epic film 12 Years of Slave and graced it with an epic workout for tonight’s HIIT class. Members will be farewell flogged and they witness the hitness,” the 2019 post read.
Among the movements listed for the workout were “power cleans” and “floor wipers”.
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