PureGym has apologised for one of its branches advertising a Black History Month workout using the words: “Slavery was hard and so is this.”
“Entitled ‘12 Years Of Slave’ [sic] after the epic movie this is our workout of the month designed by Matt Simpson to celebrate black history month,” the accompanying wording said.
The post was published through the chain’s Luton & Dunstable page on Monday and has since been deleted following swift backlash.
The gym chain has also distanced itself from the post, claiming it was not approved centrally.
A spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “PureGym apologises unreservedly for a post made today by our gym in Luton. This post is wholly unacceptable, was not approved or endorsed by the company and was removed as soon as it was brought to our attention.
“Each of our 271 gyms has its own social media channels which are run locally. We take this matter extremely seriously and are urgently investigating how and why this post was made.”
The reaction has not been favourable.
— Michael Morgan (@mikewhoatv) October 5, 2020
— Georgia Bone 💀 (@georgia_coan) October 5, 2020
One Twitter user wrote: “So @Puregym have a workout called ’12 years of slave’ because ‘slavery was hard and so is this’. V I L E.”
But the workout creator Matt Simpson – a Black man – appeared to defend the controversial move on his own Instagram page and said he had been “ordered” to remove it.
This is not the first time Simpson has promoted the workout. In 2019, he shared the same artwork on his Facebook page, but it did not garner as much criticism from the public.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.