Sunday, June 16, 2024

After Planet Fitness Sided With a Trans Customer, 17 Locations Got Bomb Threats

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After a series of social media posts targeting the gym chain Planet Fitness, at least 17 locations throughout the United States have reported receiving bomb threats, according to watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Throughout March, the right-wing social media account, which regularly posts anti-LGBTQ+ content, led a campaign against the low-cost gym following an incident in a Fairbanks, Alaska, location in which a customer took video of a person in the women’s bathroom who they believed to be a trans woman. The person reported seeing “a man in women’s locker room shaving,” according to ABC 15 News, and posted the video to Facebook. Planet Fitness responded by banning the customer, Patricia Silva, for violating the company’s mobile device policy.

“As the home of the Judgement Free Zone, Planet Fitness is committed to creating an inclusive environment,” a Planet Fitness spokesperson said at the time. “Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use the gym facilities that best align with their sincere, self-reported gender identity. The member who posted on social media violated our mobile device policy that prohibits taking photos of individuals in the locker room, which resulted in their membership being terminated.”

Since Planet Fitness’s decision to terminate Silva’s membership, Libs of TikTok has published at least four social media posts targeting Planet Fitness, according to Media Matters. Between March 11 and March 15, the account posted four times slamming Planet Fitness, sharing screenshots of emails between Silva and the chain, and eventually calling for a boycott.

Following the initial coverage, the Fairbanks location reported a bomb threat on March 15, with subsequent threats throughout Rhode Island, several locations in Jackson, Mississippi, two locations in Connecticut, and six locations in Michigan.

Libs of TikTok’s posts culminated in the right-wing media covering the issue, including a March 20 Fox News broadcast claiming that the gym had lost $400 million in value since the incident, as well as OutKick (a Fox News-owned site) posting a story comparing Planet Fitness’s fate to that of Bud Light’s following the backlash the beer brand experienced for sending trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney a personalized can of lager.

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