People are boycotting LA Fitness over racist incident, despite apology




 

LA Fitness is under fire after an employee asked two black men to leave one of its New Jersey clubs on Monday. The gym chain has since apologized and promised to improve racial sensitivity training among its staffers.

One of the men, Tshyrad Oates, posted videos of the incident on Facebook. Oates wrote on Facebook that he had signed in with a four-day guest pass from his friend, a club member. "After about a half hour, I was approached by this same employee telling me that I had to leave or pay, and I explained to her that I just signed in with her with the guest pass," he said. "She stated that it was my friend who did not pay (unaware that her manager had already signed him in with his membership pass). My friend stated to her that he is an active and current member and that his gym tag was in his locker."

Oates says his friend "felt racially profiled and embarrassed by the harassment of this LA Fitness employee in front of other members at the gym." The two continued working out before they were interrupted again - this time by two police officers, who questioned why they were working out with no memberships.

"We explained to them about our guest pass and rescanned my friend's member tag, and it resulted in current active status," Oates said. He and his friend started working out yet again but were reportedly told by an LA Fitness manager just 10 minutes later that they needed to leave. Then, Oates says that five police officers showed up and echoed that demand. Oates said that they weren't given a reason why and were told that "I was banned from the gym and my friend's gym membership has been terminated, effective immediately."

In a statement released on Thursday per CNN, LA Fitness said, "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."

LA Fitness also said in the statement that a front desk employee was confused and thought the member was a guest. "Regrettably, from there our staff unnecessarily escalated the situation and called the police rather than work through it," LA Fitness said, adding that the company is "currently exploring potential training content and opportunities to better train our staff." LA Fitness did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle's request for comment.

The news comes on the heels of an incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks in which two black men were arrested within minutes of entering, after a manager called police because the men hadn't ordered anything. Starbucks issued a public apology and says it plans to close its stores on May 29 in order to spend time educating its employees about racial bias.

But people aren't impressed by LA Fitness' response - and some say they're now boycotting the chain because of the incident.





"This is part of the ongoing, day-to-day challenges that black people have in society," Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, the largest online racial justice organization in the U.S., tells Yahoo Lifestyle. "Before we were capturing these incidents on video, it was often our word against a corporation, business, or police officer." The recent, very public discriminations "have created a new level of pushback," Robinson says.

The best way for companies to react to these types of incidents is to respond quickly, deal with the situation itself, then try to figure out the larger reason why the situation happened, and to make changes to try to prevent it from happening again in the future, Robinson says. Even though people aren't happy with what happened at Starbucks, they don't seem to be responding to it the way they are to LA Fitness - and that's likely because of the Starbucks promise to go as far as temporarily closing shops to focus on the issue.

"I do think that the one-day training that Starbucks is doing should be commended," Robinson says. However, he points out, large companies like Starbucks and LA Fitness tend to have high employee turnover, and one day of training isn't going to solve the issue. "It has to be about an ongoing commitment to changing a set of cultural practices that are deeply ingrained in the fabric of our society," he says.

Robinson says the latest incidents should be a wake-up call for all companies to revisit their trainings and policies. "Companies try to ingrain values and rules that are intended to help the corporation make more money," he says. "To the extent that these situations are going to deeply cost these companies, it's imperative for them to figure this out and think of this as more than PR."

COMMENTS

More Related News

Starbucks Earnings: 3 Things to Watch
Starbucks Earnings: 3 Things to Watch

After crushing expectations in its fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, expectations are high.

Apple boss Tim Cook attacks
Apple boss Tim Cook attacks 'shadow economy' of data in call for new privacy law

Apple's chief executive Tim Cook has called for the US to introduce a national privacy law, attacking a "shadow economy" in which people's personal data is bought and sold without their knowledge. Mr Cook said companies should have to collect as little data as possible and make it easy for people to delete the information that is held about them. It is the latest attempt from Apple to position itself as the steward of consumers' privacy, and to draw a line between itself and companies such as Facebook and Google. Mr Cook said that people need to "win back their right to privacy" and that companies that sell data should have to register with the Federal Trade Commission, the US consumer...

American killed in Kenya attack was 9/11 survivor
American killed in Kenya attack was 9/11 survivor

The American man who was among the 21 people killed in an attack on a luxury hotel complex in the Kenyan capital Nairobi was a consultant who survived the 9/11 attacks, and specialized in emerging economies. Authorities did not formally name Jason Spindler as one of the victims, but his mother Sarah and brother Jonathan confirmed his death on Facebook and to several US media outlets. "It's with a heavy heart that I have to report that my brother, Jason Spindler, passed this morning during a terror attack in Nairobi," Jonathan wrote on Facebook, in comments visible only to his friends.

Three quarters of Facebook users unaware of how much it knows about them
Three quarters of Facebook users unaware of how much it knows about them

Most Facebook users don't realise how much Facebook knows about them and are uncomfortable with it when they find out, research suggests. A study by the Pew Research Centre in Washington DC found that 74 per cent of American users did not know about a key privacy page which shows them how Facebook has categorised them based on their data. When shown this information, 51 per cent of those surveyed said they were "not very comfortable" or "not comfortable at all" with its existence. The research casts doubt on how well Facebook is fulfilling its self-declared "privacy principles", which include "helping people understand how their data is used" and...

China
China's Coffee Upstart Is Pouring Millions Into Overtaking Starbucks

Luckin Coffee, a Chinese startup that's banking on selling cappuccinos to on-the-go office workers, is spending millions of dollars a year opening outlets to unseat Starbucks Corp. as the top java seller in the country. "China is Starbucks' best and most profitable market now, but it took them nine

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Style

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.