LA Fitness fires 3 employees for racially profiling Black member in viral video
One manager and two other staffers were let go.
In the wake of the latest Starbucks controversy, LA Fitness made sure to quickly distance itself from a trio of employees who were accused of racially profiling one of its members.
On Monday, LA Fitness member Tshyrad Oates posted video of himself at the Secaucus, NJ, location of the gym.
In the accompanying post which he shared on Facebook, Oates explains he went to the gym to work out with a friend who was also a member when he was approached by staff telling him that he needed to leave and pay.
“Went to LA Fitness In secaucus to workout with my boy. I signed in under a 4day guest pass and he was already at the gym and a current member of the club. 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. 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. He felt racially profiled and embarrassed by the harassment of this La Fitness employee in front of other members at the gym. We continued our workout and next thing we know 2 police men show up questioning us on why we were their with no memberships, we explained to them about our guest pass and rescanned my friend’s member tag and it resulted in current active statues. (The La Fitness employee did look at the computer screen that showed current member status and said nothing.)
We again started our workout and 10 mins later an La Fitness manager told us to leave, we stated that we did not do anything wrong and have active current memberships. 2 mins later 5 police men show up asking us to leave. This La Fitness manager who refused to give us his reason to kicking us out, and refused to give us his name stated that I was banned from the gym and my friend’s gym membership has been terminated effective immediately. This is ridiculous and the last video sealed the deal.”
In the video, Oates asks why he was being questioned and an employee tells him that he needs to leave the facility because he’s not allowed to film.
At one point even the police officers seem to be confused as to why the gym doesn’t want the two Black men on the premises.
“You guys don’t like cellphones, I get it,” one officer tells the gym employee. “But it’s not criminal activity. That’s company policy.”
Once the video became viral, LA Fitness fired the manager and two other employees to curb the backlash.
In a statement to NJ.com on Wednesday, LA Fitness said it apologized to the customer.
“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 also announced that it is now “exploring potential training content and opportunities to better train our staff.”
Check out Oates original post below.