Sunday, June 16, 2024

Planet Fitness founder slams trans locker room policies: ‘No common sense’

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A row of Cybex Arc Trainers lined up at a Planet Fitness in Spring Branch, Houston, Texas. | Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Planet Fitness co-founder Michael Grondahl has decried the gym franchise’s policy of allowing men into women’s locker rooms and alleged history of sexual abuse, saying in a recent interview that it’s “devastating” what the company has become.

In the interview late last month with Libs of TikTok founder Chaya Raichik, Grondahl stated that the company he founded is “pretty much destroyed” in response to Planet Fitness banning a member who complained about a trans-identified biological male in the women’s locker room.

The member, Patricia Silva, went viral in March after she shared her story online about Alaska Planet Fitness revoking her membership.

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“Planet Fitness was like another child for me. And I put my heart and soul into building that company, and it’s been pretty much destroyed in, you know, it’s lost all respect within the country within the last couple of weeks,” Grondahl said. “There’s no common sense standing behind this.”

According to Planet Fitness’ webpage, company founders Michael and Mark Grondahl started the company in 1992 after they purchased a gym in Dover, New Hampshire. During the interview, Grondahl said that he started Planet Fitness for people who were “intimidated” by fitness centers or couldn’t afford the cost of one. 

“Back in ’97, we came up with Planet Fitness as a ‘judgment-free zone,'” the co-founder said. “We really made an extreme effort into making it a comfortable place to come to.”

“And now, you fast forward to what’s happening today, and ‘judgement-free zone’ means that, if you’re a man, you can use the women’s locker room,” Grondahl continued. “Just insane.”

After revoking Silva’s membership, reports surfaced last month that a staffer has since accompanied the man while he used the women’s facilities.

An unnamed friend of Silva’s alleged that she saw the same man Silva encountered in the women’s locker room. The friend claimed that the Planet Fitness staffer accompanying the man told her that she could go into the stall if she was uncomfortable having a male in there.

The Planet Fitness co-founder questioned the gym’s decision to make the man more comfortable, stating that it’s an “extremely dangerous situation.” 

In the video Silva posted online after Planet Fitness revoked her membership, she said a 12-year-old in a towel was inside the locker room while the man was inside. According to Silva, the girl seemed “freaked out” over the man’s presence.

“To be honest, I have a daughter, and had I been in the facility and heard what was going on, I’d want to go in there and freaking take the guy by the neck and throw him out on the parking lot,” Grondahl said. 

Grondahl sold Planet Fitness to a private equity company in 2012 and remained CEO until he claims to have been ousted after he reported that an attorney working with the firm had been charged with abusing children. 

“He pleaded guilty to sexual crimes, and we found more people when I sent investigators to [North Carolina]. … They found more people that he had abused,” Grondahl said. 

“I bring it to the private equity company that just bought us, and they basically showed me the door,” Grondahl said.

According to the co-founder, a majority of the Planet Fitness board knew the man was a pedophile, stating, “It’s in the culture.” 

“It started at the corporate office. This attorney started abusing employees, then he’s abusing them sexually, now the culture leads into the people doing the right thing are being thrown out of Planet Fitness,” he said. 

Planet Fitness did not immediately respond to The Christian Post’s request for comment about the allegations.

The attorney left Planet Fitness in 2017, Bezinga reports

In the aftermath of all the media attention Planet Fitness received last month, the company’s stock dropped almost 8%. The company’s stock had been in a freefall since January. But the company’s stock price has rallied to over $63 per share as of Wednesday after falling to as low as $54 per share in March. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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