Personal trainer suspended after fat-shaming woman on social media

Shah Cutler. Image via Instagram/SuperShah.
Shah Cutler. Image via Instagram/SuperShah.

Words: Elizabeth Di Filippo

A personal trainer has been suspended from work after publicly fat shaming a woman on social media.

In an Instagram story that has since been deleted, Shah Cutler, an employee of Fitness First Singapore, shared a photo of an unknown woman ordering ice cream with the caption, “Wtf so fat still wanna ice cream? Disgusting.”

Cutler’s post received criticism online and was brought to the attention of his employer, who issued a statement to Facebook condemning his actions.

Cutler’s Instagram Story. Image via Instagram/SuperShah.
Cutler’s Instagram Story. Image via Instagram/SuperShah.

“It has been brought to our attention that a recent post by a FF trainer on social media was found to have used insensitive statements towards a member of the public and we would like to apologise for any distress caused,” the statement reads. “We have undertaken an internal investigation and suspended his duties until further notice. He has since publicly apologised for his behaviour through an Instagram post and understands the sensitivity of his comment.”

The gym continued by assuring the public that they “do not agree with the comment made by our employee nor condone such behaviour.”

Cutler also made a formal apology on Instagram.

“I would like to sincerely apologise for my recent IG story post. I was too rash and understand the insensitive statement is uncalled for and offensive,” he wrote. “As a trainer, I’m deeply committed to my duty to help people achieve their health and fitness goals and I’ll continue to do so in more appropriate ways from now on.”

The public apology in question was short-lived, as Cutler has since deleted all of his social media accounts and his official website.

Image via Instagram/Supershah.
Image via Instagram/Supershah.

The incident has raised mixed reactions online, with some people calling for Cutler’s dismissal.

“In my opinion, this behaviour from a personal trainer is completely unacceptable. As a personal trainer, you are supposed to show empathy, compassion and a genuine willingness to help public and clients who need counselling and professional help with body issues,” one person wrote. “As a person if you do not have these qualities, clearly this job is not suitable for him…”

One prospective client said she was debating a membership, but is now afraid to join.

“I will be wondering if fitness trainers in your gym will be like this insensitive trainer and make fat-shaming comments like that amongst themselves on my body size or shape,” she wrote.

Others suggested alternative measures to rectify the issue, such as having Cutler give free personal training sessions to clients.

This isn’t the first time Cutler’s remarks towards women have been called into question. Last month the trainer shared his Facebook status from 2015 that read, “‘Fat guys have to deal with rejection from women but fat women think that men should accept them for who they are. What?!’ LOL.”

Image via Facebook.
Image via Facebook.

The gym recently shared a follow-up statement to their patrons stating that they were now viewing the issue as “an internal matter.”

“Fitness First has investigated the incident and has taken the appropriate disciplinary actions,” the follow-up statement read. “This is now an internal matter and we kindly ask the public to respect the privacy of those involved. We urge members of the public to refrain from engaging in any further aggression towards the trainer and his close ones, and instead, join us in cultivating a safe and welcoming environment for positive conversations, both online and offline.”

This isn’t the first time a person has been fired over a fat shaming row. Earlier this year, an intern – who was allegedly posting from an LA-based magazine editor’s account – was fired for making fat-shaming comments about plus size models who featured in an Australian tanning company’s advertisement.

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