PureGym trainer behind 'ill-judged' slavery workout apologises
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PureGym trainer behind 'ill-judged' slavery workout apologises

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There are no excuses for it, only a place from which the post came – which was from a proud black man wanting to bring his history together with his passion and profession

The assistant general manager at Puregym's Luton and Dunstable branch, who promoted a 12 Years a Slave-inspired workout on social media – accompanied by the words "slavery is hard and so is this" – has publicly apologised.

Matt Simpson, who has worked at the Luton gym since October 2019, said there were "no excuses" for his post.

He added that the idea of creating a workout celebrating Black History Month – with a name inspired by the 2013 Oscar-winning film – stemmed from his want, as a "proud black man", to "bring his history together with his passion and profession".

He added: “The branding of PureGym as racist couldn’t be further from the truth in my experience. During my time at the company I have never experienced any racial prejudice and have always been given the tools and support needed.

“This is a very hard lesson for me and I wholeheartedly apologise to all affected. I am deeply sorry," he continued.

"For those who are coming across me this morning for the first time, I'm the individual who posted the '12 Years of Slave" workout yesterday morning via the PureGym Luton and Dunstable Instagram account," Simpson wrote on Instagram.

"I sincerely apologise to all whom I offended in any way, shape or form – directly or indirectly.

"There was absolutely no malice or ill intentions meant by the post. This was a very ill-judged post, which I'm responsible for.

Following the original "12 Years of Slave" post yesterday (5 October), PureGym had quickly acted to remove it and to distance itself from the workout.

The company issued an unreserved apology, stating that Simpson's post was not approved nor endorsed by the company and was "a direct breach of clear policies in place to prevent situations such as this".

Today, PureGym has told HCM that "This is clearly a very sensitive matter and we must do the right thing for both the individual concerned and the company.

"It's reassuring that in his post this morning, Matt volunteered his confidence in PureGym as being a good employer and not being in anyway racist. In this Matt reflects fairly that PureGym is deeply committed to equality of opportunity and will remain so.

"You will understand that we must follow the correct processes which will see us investigating thoroughly the circumstances around this post which clearly breached our social media protocols and procedures.

"Only once we have gone through this can we consider, agree or take a course of action.

"As you would expect - and as reflected by his post this morning – this has been a deeply traumatic incident for Matt, who is rightly taking some time away from the business at the current time."

©Cybertrek 2020

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The assistant general manager at PureGym's Luton and Dunstable branch, who promoted a '12 Years a Slave'-inspired workout on social media – accompanied by the words "slavery is hard and so is this" – has publicly apologised.

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