Updated Thursday, April 19, 2018, 9:19 a.m. EDT: LA Fitness has fired the manager and two other employees at its Secaucus, N.J., location after staff members suggested that a black customer’s fitness routine should include at least one set of getting the fuck out their gym.
In a statement to NJ.com on Wednesday, LA Fitness said it apologized to the customer and let him know that his membership is still valid at the club.
“Regrettably, our staff unnecessarily escalated the situation and called the police rather than work through it,” the national fitness club chain said in a statement. “Clearly, this is a longtime member with a current, valid membership. We want to clarify that no membership was canceled and no one, including the member’s guest, was banned from the club. We have spoken to the member to apologize and assured him that he and his guests are welcome in our clubs at all times.”
LA Fitness announced that it is “exploring potential training content and opportunities to better train our staff.”
Although the club didn’t say how it would address the problem, LA Fitness gave no indication that it was reaching out to Starbucks to see if that chain was willing to share how it planned to solve racism in 24 hours.
Video recorded at a New Jersey fitness club seems to show evidence of a paid customer being kicked out of the gym for participating in the epidemic of criminal activity spreading around the country known as “existing while black.”
On Monday, Facebook user Tshyrad Oates posted video of himself at LA Fitness’ Secaucus, N.J., location. In explaining the video, Oates says he went to the gym to work out with a friend who was also a member of the club when he was approached by staff telling him that he needed to leave and pay.
Oates says that after he explained that both he and his friend were rightfully signed in, two police officers showed up and questioned them about their presence at the gym as he caught the exchange on camera.
In the video, when Oates asks why he was being questioned, a person who seems to be employed by the gym tells Oates that he needs to leave the facility because he’s not allowed to film.
The video shows that the police officers seem to be as clueless as Oates about why the gym doesn’t want the two black men inside.
“You guys don’t like cellphones, I get it,” one officer tells the alleged gym employee. “But it’s not criminal activity. That’s company policy.”
Oates says that his contract was terminated solely because the manager didn’t like him, while the police seem to have no clue.
Before we jump to conclusions, perhaps there’s a valid reason that Oates was kicked out of the gym.
Maybe LA Fitness has a rule about taking pictures or video. I hate when I’m at the gym and have to worry about someone snapping a selfie, catching me at my most vulnerable moment as I struggle to bench-press 78 pounds. While gym lighting is apparently perfect for taking booty and bicep selfies, a “no cellphone” rule seems like a reasonable edict.
I can’t understand why you guys make everything into a racial issue.
In fact, I’m going to prove that this has nothing to do with the fact that Tshyrad Coates is black. I’m gonna head over to Instagram and search for “LA Fitness Secaucus.” I’m sure there won’t be any pictures or video of people openly posing for photos:
OK. Maybe I was wrong.
The Root reached out to LA Fitness’ corporate offices and LA Fitness’ Secaucus franchise, to no avail. Tshyrad Oates said that he will not be doing interviews, on the advice of his attorneys.
I’m headed to Starbucks. I’m sure they’re cool with me hanging out over there.