Planet Fitness Faces Outrage Over Viral Photo of Ad Offering Police Free One-Year Memberships

Planet Fitness has come under fire on Twitter for offering free one-year gym memberships to police [...]

Planet Fitness has come under fire on Twitter for offering free one-year gym memberships to police officers amid the growing protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death on May 25. After a photo of the offer went viral, Planet Fitness said it was withdrawn and had been in place at two Louisiana locations for two years. The company also told fans on Twitter they made a $100,000 donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America for inclusivity programs.

On Wednesday, a Twitter user shared a photo of a display at her local Planet Fitness location, which offered a free one-year subscription for police officers. "F—, and I cannot stress this enough, Planet Fitness!!" the Twitter user wrote. The post earned more than 24,000 retweets and it caught the attention of Planet Fitness, which confirmed it was a real promotional offer.

"This was in no way a response to, or a statement regarding, current events," the statement read. "The sign has been taken down to avoid any further confusion regarding its intent." The company said racism has "no place" at its gyms, adding, "We want to reiterate our support for the black community." The company sent the same statement to dozens of Twitter users who shared the viral tweet, but some said the message was not enough. One person pointed out that the statement did not specifically say if the promotion was canceled, just that the sign promoting it was removed.

Unlike many other American brands, Planet Fitness did not share a message on Twitter about supporting the protests against police brutality and racial inequality. Several people asked the company what they were doing to support Black Lives Matter. "We have made a contribution of $100,000 to Boys and Girls Clubs of America to support inclusivity programming and to invest in our future," the company told one follower on Twitter. "We're here to listen and learn, and evaluate our impact moving forward. Working for a better future does not stop here."

Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis police custody late last month when former officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes, even after Floyd lost consciousness. Chauvin was fired and charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers were fired and charged with aiding and abetting the murder. Floyd's death, as well as the recent deaths of many other black men and women, have renewed the national debate on police use of extreme force and racism.