Jeff Goldman, nj.com, April 19, 2018
L.A. Fitness has fired a manager and two employees at a New Jersey gym where two black men were kicked out Monday night in an incident captured on video and shared on social media, according to a salesman there.
An employee who answered the phone at L.A. Fitness in Secaucus told NJ Advance Media the manager who appeared in the video recorded by one of the men has been “removed from the company.”
The employee, a salesman who would only give his first name Josos, also said two women who were working that evening and badgered the men are no longer employees.
In a statement emailed to NJ Advance Media on Wednesday evening, L.A. Fitness said it has apologized to the customer and made it clear that his membership is still valid.
“Regrettably, our staff unnecessarily escalated the situation and called the police rather than work through it, ” the statement said. “Clearly, this is a long time member with a current, valid membership. We want to clarify that no membership was cancelled 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.”
The incident went viral on Facebook after Tshyrad Oates posted four videos saying the club manager called Secaucus police while he and another man were working out. Oates was using a four-day guest pass and his friend is a member at the gym.
Even though both men properly checked in when they arrived, Oates said an employee interrupted them to again ask for their membership credentials.
Oates wrote on Facebook that his friend “felt racially profiled and embarrassed by the harassment of this L.A. Fitness employee in front of other members at the gym.”
The friend, who is not named, said in one video that the since-fired manager told him it was terminating his membership. He adds that he has been a paid member of L.A. Fitness for eight years and has had “multiple problems” with workers there.
L.A. Fitness said in its statement that the employee who asked for the customer’s membership card after he previously had it scanned “was not working when this member checked in the first time, so she was unaware.”
L.A. Fitness also said it is “exploring potential training content and opportunities to better train our staff.”