Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Planet Fitness outlets receive bomb threats after far right derides gym policy

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More than 40 Planet Fitness locations across the country have received bomb threats after a conservative movement against the gym’s trans-inclusive locker room policy went viral online.

In the weeks since the backlash against the gym chain started in March, at least 43 locations in Connecticut, Florida, Alabama and other states have received bomb threats, according to progressive media watchdog group Media Matters.

The group said that swift social media backlash, centering on anti-trans rhetoric, is reminiscent of last year’s boycott against Bud Light. Sales of the beer brand fell last year after the company partnered with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney in an advertisement.

Planet Fitness said in a statement that the company has “been working closely with local and federal authorities to investigate these threats and will continue to take action to ensure the safety of our members and employees”.

The backlash started with the rightwing social media account Libs of TikTok posting on X a video of a woman saying that there was “a man shaving in a women’s bathroom” at her Planet Fitness location in Fairbanks, Alaska.

“I realize he wants to be a woman, he gets to be a woman, I love him in Christ. He’s a spiritual being having a human experience. He doesn’t like his gender, so he wants to be a woman, but I’m not comfortable with him shaving in my bathroom,” the woman said.

The Libs of TikTok account then shared an email exchange with another customer, who wrote to the company to complain about the incident. The company reiterated it allows people to use “locker room facilities and programs based on their self-reported gender identity”.

The woman in the video was ultimately banned from her Planet Fitness location for sharing a picture of a person at a sink who was at the center of her complaint. Libs of TikTok posted an update from the woman with the caption “Why is @PlanetFitness prioritizing a man with a p*nis using a woman’s private space over women’s and girls’ safety?”

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In a statement to LGBTQ+ news site Pink News, Planet Fitness said “discomfort is not a reason to deny access” and said that the “member who posted on social media violated our mobile device policy that prohibits taking photos of individuals in the locker room”.

The company is based in New Hampshire and has around 2,400 locations across the country. While Planet Fitness’ stock price fell 10% in the days after the backlash began, the company price has been going back up in the last few weeks.

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