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11 June 2020, 12:49
Anytime Fitness has issued a statement after a branch in Wisconsin promoted a programmed titled the "I Can't Breathe" workout in the wake of George Floyd's tragic death.
George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the world as people call for an end to racial injustice and police brutality. However, others have chosen to mock the tragic incident.
Anytime Fitness has issued an apology after one of their gyms in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin was seen promoting an "I Can't Breathe" workout regime inspired by Floyd's passing.
The image which circulated social media this week features a drawing of a man kneeling down alongside a workout including rowing and burpees, with a statement at the end reading: "...And don't you dare lay down."
The post enraged social media users who labelled the workout "disgusting" and in "poor taste". One wrote, "The f**k y’all on @AnytimeFitness this is ur Wauwatosa Wi location. Everyone should be fired. EVERYONE. Smh."
"When the local @AnytimeFitness decides to exploit a man's murder for fitness. Poor taste," wrote another.
In response, Anytime Fitness released a statement apologising for the post and asserted that specific franchise owner at that Wisconsin gym has taken full responsibility, while the trainer who implemented the workout has been placed on leave.
An update on our message from earlier today: pic.twitter.com/PtcWXRJVzQ— Anytime Fitness (@AnytimeFitness) June 10, 2020
"No matter the intent, we absolutely do not condone the words, illustrations or actions this represents. To our employees, owners and members, we are truly and profoundly sorry that this incident occurred," reads the statement.
"One of our publicly-stated commitments to antiracism work is to bolster education efforts for our franchise owners to lead with empathy, love and respect.
"This incident makes it clear that we have work to do in this space; immediately, we are sharing this incident with our franchise owners worldwide as an example of what not to do, why it is offensive, and what locations should be doing instead."
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Floyd, 46, died on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes, despite Floyd repeatedly crying out "I can't breathe".
Chauvin, 42, has had charges against him upgraded from third-degree murder to second-degree murder. Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
All four officers were fired after the incident.