'Incredibly triggering': Gym slammed for controversial sign

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

An insensitive sign erected by gym at a NSW intersection has drawn criticism after using a coronavirus catchphrase in a cynical attempt to encourage people back into the facility.

Anytime Fitness in Tweed Heads, in the state’s northeast, installed a large sign early in June displaying a purposely edited version of the popular call from authorities for Australians to “flatten the curve”.

The words “the” and “curve” were edited with bold yellow markings, making the banner read “flatten your curves”.

The sign has been criticised for its poor taste given the devastation caused by COVID-19, and for using language perpetuating a damaging message about an ideal body type.

Local woman Capucine Merlant-Pilonchery spotted the sign on June 1 and had an instant negative reaction.

“A sign like that can be so incredibly triggering for people with poor self image,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

“I saw it and felt a mix of emotions. Doubt and negative thoughts being at the forefront, but then I remembered that the least interesting thing about me is the way I look.”

The 24-year-old was not alone in her reaction, hearing from about 100 others who supported her outrage after sharing a video to her 7,5000 Instagram followers.

“Being thin has become one of the core values of our society, and it’s infused into everything,” she said.

“The focus of the company should be to motivate people to feel good, not to reduce themselves because of this socially constructed idea that we aren’t fine and whole the way we are.”

Anytime Fitness in Tweed Heads displayed this ad for about a week before removing it. Source: Supplied

About a week after uploading the video to her Instagram story, she received a message from an eating disorder dietician who said she had been in contact with the gym to have the sign removed.

“I thought you’d like to know this morning they removed it. It took me a week of communicating with them but it’s down,” she wrote to Ms Merlant-Pilonchery on Tuesday.

“There’s been lots of people complaining about it so thanks for being one of them.”

Anytime Fitness Tweed Heads did not respond to Yahoo News Australia’s requests for comment.

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