Gold's Gym to terminate Cairo franchise over body shaming ad

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Aug 2016

Part of apology by Gold's Gym Egypt published on its official Facebook page onTuesday

Gold's Gym, the world's leading authority on health and fitness, has moved to terminate the contract of an Egyptian franchise after the latter posted online what was deemed a body-shaming ad.

A sub-franchise of the popular international gym in Cairo, Gold's Gym Dreamland sparked outrage after it shared a photo earlier this week showing a delicious-looking pear with a caption next to it that reads: "This is no shape for a girl."

Many social media users have accused the fitness company of contributing to self esteem issues for girls with pear-shaped body.

Gold's Gym was swift to fiercely slam the ad which it said was created and posted without its knowledge.

"Words cannot express how shocked and appalled we were by the recent posts of Gold’s Gym Dreamland, a sub-franchise in Cairo, Egypt. Not only were they offensive and disgusting, they go against everything we believe in and stand for," it said in a statement late on Tuesday.

The 50-year-old chain, which has 700 locations in 42 states and 30 countries, said it had been in the process of "expediting the termination of this sub-franchisee’s agreement" after consultation with its master franchise in Gold’s Gym Egypt.

The company was responding to social media critics on Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday.

Gold's Gym Egypt, the company's main franchise in Egypt, also offered an apology for what it called an "insensitive post" and said "severe actions and consequence" will be taken against the franchise.

"Gold's Gym Egypt was built on values that would encourage men, women and children alike to love themselves proudly, regardless of their weight or physical appearance," it added in a statement posted on its Facebook page on Tuesday.

Amid the backlash, the Egyptian franchise earlier apologised on Facebook about the PR fail, saying the post "was meant to refer to a healthy fit body and cutting fats, not the actual structure of the body."

But some users were further irked, saying that health and fitness come in all shapes and sizes.

The branch's Facebook page has now been pulled down after the gym chain communicated Facebook to have it removed.

The company says it is currently reviewing its internal procedures for how both domestic and international franchisees create and share social media posts to ensure "nothing like this ever happens again."

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