A fitness trainer who worked for Anytime Fitness in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, has been fired after promoting an “I Can’t Breathe” workout, according to a statement on the franchise's Facebook page.
The owners of the Wauwatosa franchise announced via a statement on their Facebook page Thursday evening that the trainer has been terminated. The trainer was not identified.
In a video posted on the franchise's Facebook page on Wednesday, co-owner John Mathie said he shares and understands "the outrage, based on the actions of the past 24 hours." He and his business partner, Jen Dunnington, said that the franchise would be the first ones to participate in the anti-racism training the parent company announced last week.
Mathie also said that participation in the anti-racism training will be mandatory for all staff.
"A trainer of mine put together a workout for 'I Can't Breathe,' and while intended to support the Black Lives Matter movement, it was clearly misguided," Mathie said.
Corporate owners Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen released a statement that said under the 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."
Anytime Fitness has more than 4,500 gyms worldwide.