In response to “I Can’t Breathe” workout

Statement by Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen, Co-Founders, Self Esteem Brands

As the co-founders of the Anytime Fitness brand, we were extremely disappointed to learn about the “I Can’t Breathe” workout promoted by the AF franchise location in Wauwatosa, Wis.

The trainer who promoted the “I Can’t Breathe” workout has been terminated by the owner of the Wauwatosa location. That owner has taken full responsibility for the actions of his location, and he and his entire staff have volunteered to be the first ones to participate in the antiracism training that we announced last week and are providing for all franchise owners across our portfolio of brands.

Under the Anytime Fitness franchise model, owners make independent decisions about local promotional activities for their gyms. However, regardless of their original intent, the actions of the Wauwatosa location were offensive, insensitive and inconsistent with our brand values. We understand the deep hurt that this gym’s actions have caused for many of our members, and we truly apologize that this happened.

This experience has further galvanized our commitment to antiracism education within our franchise network. To our employees, franchise owners, members and communities – especially those who are black, Indigenous, and people of color – we deeply regret this week’s events, and we will continue to learn from these experiences. Our commitment to eliminating racism within our business is stronger than ever.

Chuck and Dave

Statement by Anytime Fitness Wauwatosa WI Owner 

I want to thank all of you for your feedback and concern over the past several days as we have evaluated the actions of our club staff.

The trainer who posted “I Can’t Breathe” workout has been terminated.

Once again, I take full responsibility for this unfortunate incident, and I apologize to our staff, members, and community – especially to those who are black.

As noted before, I, my co-owner and our staff will participate in the first wave of antiracism training that our franchisor, Self Esteem Brands, will be providing for all of its franchise owners worldwide.

We will work tirelessly to regain your trust.