The owner of a Wisconsin Anytime Fitness location has apologized after one of her employees put up a sign that appeared to reference George Floyd’s death, TMZ reported. The sign has been criticized as insensitive.
Jen Dunnington, co-owner of Anytime Fitness in Wauwatosa, in suburban Milwaukee, said that one of her employees wanted to “honor” Floyd. In that vein, the employee posted a workout on a whiteboard, along with a hand-drawn figure of a person in a kneeling position. The workout was captioned, “I can’t breathe,” the dying words uttered by Floyd, and which have become a rallying call since his death.
Smh bruh my state really have some backwards thinking people!!! @AnytimeFitness what goes through your owners minds to do this??? This is not honoring George Floyd one bit smh pic.twitter.com/AYnJJ9LIc5— Young Deuces of SNYD (@Young_Deuces) June 10, 2020
The list of exercises was intended to “be a workout so hard that we felt what he felt.”
However, once photos of the sign began circulating on social media, it was immediately seen as tone-deaf at best, and offensive at worst.
“You guys are disgusting!!!!,” tweeted one user, with a photo of the sign.
“Totally tasteless. Disgusting and tone deaf. Shame. #BlackLivesMatter,” tweeted another.
“Everyone should be fired. EVERYONE. Smh,” tweeted another.
Dunnington, for her part, appears to have realized that the sign struck the wrong note.
“I deeply apologize. I was not aware of the signage that it was posted in that way. I didn’t read it in that way, but I do definitely apologize that those words were on there.”
Dunnington appears to have also written an apology on the local gym’s social media page, but later deleted it.
As of this writing, it does not appear as if Anytime Fitness’ corporate management has responded to the Wauwatosa incident. In a statement published before the Wauwatosa incident came to light, the company, which manages franchise gyms bearing its name in locations all across the country, spoke of George Floyd’s death.
“Our Anytime Fitness family is deeply saddened and horrified by the death of George Floyd. Black lives matter.”
This is not the first time that a business has taken heat for posting a sign that has been accused of mocking a tragedy.
For example, as Yahoo News Australia reported, an Anytime Fitness location in Tweed Heads posted a sign that appeared to mock the COVID-19 pandemic by juxtaposing it with weight loss.
“Flatten your curves,” the sign read, referring to the call by public health officials to “flatten the curve” — that is, to slow the spread of the coronavirus so that hospitals aren’t overwhelmed by sickened patients.