Wisconsin Gym Apologizes for Offensive 'I Can't Breathe' Workout

Wisconsin Gym Apologizes for Offensive ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Workout

Anytime Fitness
(Image: Twitter)

A fitness center located in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, has had to issue a formal apology after it advertised an “I Can’t Breathe” workout in front of its facility according to NBC News.

The corporate office for Anytime Fitness released a statement regarding the issue.

Statement By Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen, co-founders, Self Esteem Brands

As the co-founders of the Anytime Fitness brand, we were extremely disappointed to learn about the “I Can’t Breathe” workout promoted by the AF franchise location in Wauwatosa, Wis.

The trainer who promoted the “I Can’t Breathe” workout has been terminated by the owner of the Wauwatosa location. That owner has taken full responsibility for the actions of his location, and he and his entire staff have volunteered to be the first ones to participate in the antiracism training that we announced last week and are providing for all franchise owners across our portfolio of brands.

Under the Anytime Fitness franchise model, owners make independent decisions about local promotional activities for their gyms. However, regardless of their original intent, the actions of the Wauwatosa location were offensive, insensitive and inconsistent with our brand values. We understand the deep hurt that this gym’s actions have caused for many of our members, and we truly apologize that this happened.

This experience has further galvanized our commitment to antiracism education within our franchise network. To our employees, franchise owners, members and communities—especially those who are black, Indigenous, and people of color—we deeply regret this week’s events, and we will continue to learn from these experiences. Our commitment to eliminating racism within our business is stronger than ever.

-Chuck and Dave

Jen Dunnington, the co-owner and general manager of the Wauwatosa location, has issued an apology on Facebook:

“To our members, employees and community:

“We are terribly sorry for our actions this week by offering an “I Can’t Breathe” workout. No matter our intent, we now recognize how deeply offensive our words, illustrations and actions have been. One of the publicly-stated commitments to antiracism work by the owner of the Anytime Fitness brand, Self Esteem Brands, is to bolster education efforts for its franchise owners to lead with empathy, love and respect. We obviously have work to do within our own location, and we will work hard to earn back your trust and respect. We stand with our black community, and again, we are so very sorry for this insensitive move.”