The popular gym chain Planet Fitness is in the middle of an antigay PR nightmare and it’s not handling it well.
This week, it was revealed by Out that the company’s CEO Chris Rondeau has been secretly funding antigay politicians for years.
Recently obtained documents from the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that in 2016, Rondeau gave $1,200 to Donald Trump presidential campaign.
In 2018, he gave money to former New Hampshire State Senator Andy Sanborn, who opposed a bill banning gay conversion therapy and he voted against updating the state’s existing civil rights laws include protections for people based on gender identity.
As a company, Planet Fitness has long crowed about its commitment to equality, deeming itself a “judgment-free zone” and offering trans members the freedom to use the locker rooms that corresponds to their gender.
Since the news that its CEO has been funding the agendas of homophobic politicians, however, the company has gone radio silent.
Not only has it ignored requests for comment, but it hasn’t issued any statement or even done the bare minimum by acknowledging the controversy on social media.
The company’s most recently tweet, and its first since the news about Rondeau broke, was an awkward joke about jeans this morning:
Putting on fresh-out-of-the-dryer jeans: 243,608,428 calories burned.
— Planet Fitness (@PlanetFitness) October 2, 2019
Perhaps the company is hoping the whole thing will blow over so it won’t have to address the issue?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. The hashtag #boycottplanetfitness has already begun circulating on Twitter, and people aren’t happy.
@PlanetFitness So let me get this right – my membership money is going to fund a traitor and homophobes? Fuck you people. I will be canceling immediately unless you can document that this is not your practice. #NoJudgment? #BoycottPlanetFitnesshttps://t.co/k6QPuyYHub
— The Ghost Rat (a Marginally Stable Genius) 🐀 🆘️ (@The_Ghost_Rat) October 1, 2019
Here I thought @PlanetFitness was for everyone. I was about to join a gym and it won’t be PF. #PlanetFitness#BoycottPlanetFitness#LGBTQ #LGBT https://t.co/o6dwaBpRgO
— Fredrick Bertz (@BertzFredrick) October 1, 2019
As you well know @PlanetFitness I am an avid fitness enthusiast and love my PF, however if your company doesn’t make these Trump donations right, I will be cancelling my membership and standing outside with signs to get others on board. #planetfitness #boycottplanetfitness
— Paul Vasquez (@kismek83) September 30, 2019
Earlier this year, Equinox Fitness had a similar scandal when it was revealed the company’s majority stake holder, Stephen Ross, had hosted a $250,000 per person fundraiser for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, raising $12 million in a single night. As a result, members left the gym in droves.
Planet Fitness should probably address this issue ASAP if it doesn’t want to suffer a similar fate.
Related: Planet Fitness CEO has been quietly funding antigay politicians, including Trump, for years
The company isn’t supporting Trump, the CEO, with money from his salary, is. I am sure nearly every company in America of any reasonable size has some employee who has donated money to Trump. Are we truly going to punish otherwise good companies, companies with good policies that protect gay people, because some employee, whether CEO or janitor, donates personal, private money to Trump? We are coming perilously close to acting like the HUAC rooting out those who ever even attended a communist party meeting.
Yes, we will punish them.
These people are funding politicians that are advocating things like allowing companies to not hire LGBT people. To not allow us to get married, to adopt, and lets not forget the law one state’s Republicans tried, where same sex people couldn’t even form a contract together.
So yeah, well punish them for hiring people that fund bigotry.
PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
Cam: perfect summary of justification!
So, Cam, how far down the list are you willing to go on the list of employees’ private, personal behavior to punish the company? Clearly, you will punish the company for the CEO, but what about the CFO? The CTO? The head of HR? The marketing director? Where is the line that separates personal behavior of the individual that the company is not responsible for and that which it is? How would you suggest the Planet Fitness board control the donations of their employees? Should they fire the well-performing CEO for his private, off-duty, Constitutionally-protected behavior?
It’s adorable that you are trying to pretend that a CEO is somehow just some random employee. No, that is the person who guides the company and who is paid an outrageous amount to not put the company in a situation that could impact it’s business.
You also said “Should they fire the well-performing CEO for his private, off-duty, Constitutionally-protected behavior?”
Sweetie, if you’re going to try to pretend you aren’t a right wing troll you may want to try not hiding things like hate and bigotry behind words like “Behavior”. If this CEO was donating to the KKK and groups that wanted to outlaw mixed race marriage or Asian people from voting, nobody would be clutching their pearls going “Oh My goodness, we CAN’T boycott him for his off duty behavior. So please don’t come on to an LGBT site and try your little sob story about protecting bigots.
If they don’t want to fire him, that is their choice, and it will also tell all of their LGBT customers exactly what their beliefs are.
I am hardly a right-wing troll. I am a Yellow Dog socialist Democrat. I simply support the right of free speech. I judge Planet Fitness on its actions and its actions alone. The company has a sterling record of supporting LGBTQ rights. That its CEO has a different political view is his own business. He doesn’t seem to publish or say hateful things. All he does is exercise his Constitutional right to support the political candidate of his choice. I don’t approve of the choice, but he doesn’t need my approval. I am not pretending he is a some random employee, but you avoided the question, Cam. If the CEO isn’t entitled to act on his own person beliefs with his own money in his own private life, who else is included on the list of employees whose lives are scrutinized? You didn’t say.
Sweetie, didn’t the other right wing trolls warn you? The “Free Speech” argument doesn’t work, because, unfortunately for you, it goes both ways.
What YOU are trying to say is that the CEO has the right to be a bigot and to fund politicians who seek to harm us, but we do NOT have the same right to refuse to patronize a business that gives him the money to be able to fund those bigots.
It goes both ways. If you want to cry about his right to be a bigot and fund bigotry, then you can’t complain about our right to not be forced to help fund him.
But nice try.
I haven’t even seen this story anywhere else yet. I don’t think many people outside of the usual Twitter pearl clutchers really care.
However, I would love to see Planet Fitness address the issue exactly once and say that their policy of inclusivity includes making sure their employees and board members have the freedom to support any political candidates they choose to.
Of course they do. And we have the right not to want our dollars to go into the pockets of bigots. Target tried the exact same excuse you just listed, there was a massive boycott ,and guess what? That CEO is not there anymore.
Before all of the trolls try to come on and claim boycotts don’t work I say two things.
1. If they don’t work, then why are all of the Republican troll accounts so desperate for them to not happen.
2. If they don’t work, then why did companies like Target, United Airlines, Coors, etc… all change policies when they were boycotted.
The fact is, the right wing boycotts against Disney, etc… all failed. The normal people boycotts against bigotry etc… have all been pretty damn successful.
Also, remember that major corporations hire companies to go out onto the web and flood comment sections as fake average Americans to push back with positive spins and fight back the controversies. Happens all the time.
We definitely see one of them on this posting.
Aires the Ram
So, let me get this straight…..our friend “Cam” seems to think that ANY company who’s leadership team donates to the campaigns of politicians whom he disapproves of, for ANY reason, should be black-listed.
Wow. That sure throws the idea of a Representative Republic right in the garbage can, now doesn’t it? Perhaps our friend “Cam” would prefer a ONE-PARTY system, like in many places in the middle-east, like in China (it’s called “The Communist Party”), perhaps he thinks a dictatorship would work well for him? That’s all well and good for him to believe that horse-hockey, BUT, what if he lived in this wonderful one-party-system of a Utopia, and the “Party” suddenly turned against who he was? If Cam would just read a history book, of just the 20th Century, he’d find out about all kinds of wonderful countries and leaders in one-party enforced “systems”. But then the TRUTH would slap him in the face when he found out that the leaders of these wonderful Utopias that he hopes to turn this country into, had killed over 100 million people, just in the 20th century, enforcing their “system” on the unwilling. I wonder if our friend “Cam” would like us to have a ‘leader’ who would kill all the people ‘Cam’ doesn’t seem to like? If so, then our friend “Cam” just better hope to hell that he NEVER falls out of favor in this utopian world he envisions.
Although the right wing troll account is trying to hide the actual meaning behind additional words….the basis of it’s argument is……
Bigots have the right to believe, donate, and do what they want.
People who oppose bigotry do not have the right to do anything.
Again, what you’re saying is that you feel I should be forced to patronize a business I do not want to patronize. I am saying I should have the freedom to not do that.
Hide it all you want, but if anyone is pushing a one party dictatorship it’s you.
But then again, you already knew that, didn’t you precious?
Aires the Ram
@”Cam”: Here you go again. Your immediate response to someone on here that you disagree with, gets labeled a “right wing troll account”, and then you go on to call anybody you disagree with a “bigot”. That’s real rich. Not a word, ever, about POLICY out of you, but you got the ‘right wing troll account’ and the word ‘bigot’ down pat, don’t you? I stand on my statement that if you would read a history book about JUST the 20th Century, you would actually learn something. You were given two eyes and just one mouth for a reason. You were given two ears and just one mouth for a reason.
The husband and I quit are membership to ourPlanet Fitness. There are better gyms! We feel if you want to contribute our gay dollars to a corporation that contributes to anti gay politicians we are gone. We have never eaten a Chick fl a either and actually the husband and my trust has millions in it. None of our gay dollars will go to any company that supports anti LGBT public policy!
Aires the Ram
Hmmmm, I don’t know what kind of cars you two drive, but have you researched who each and every executive at those car companies donates their money to? What’s more, I don’t know where you buy your gasoline to run those cars, but have you researched who each and every executive of those oil companies donates their money to? You probably don’t even know what company distributes the gasoline to the gas stations you frequent, but have you researched who each and every executive/owner at those fuel distributors donates their money to? I’m certain that you frequent at least one grocery store, but have you researched who each and every executive/owner of those grocery stores donates their money to? Do you think any of the above mentioned executives/owners of these companies just might be a member of a particular church that just might have a doctrine unfavorable to the gay community? My LARGER POINT is: If you are going to put your money where your mouth is and boycott each and every company who’s executives/owners might in some way contribute to someone or something or some entity that doesn’t favor the gay community, then you better damn well stay in the house.
Its interesting that I find this article, because Planet Fitness just cancelled my membership for a “comment” I made, which was basically someone asked me if I was gay. I answered yes. They leave a message on my voicemail to the effect that my membership is cancelled, no more fees will be charged, etc. I did notice that not a ONE of those members I saw at the location seemed even remotely gay. So my question as to whether I can go to another PF location and join doesn’t matter, if they can just decide to cancel me, for that reason, yet claim to be so “inclusive”.
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