An Atlanta gym owner is making no apologies after his ban on police officers and members of the military caused a local backlash.
The controversy started when passersby noticed a sign posted in front of EAV Barbell Club in the city’s East Atlanta Village neighborhood and brought it to the attention of local NBC affiliate WXIA.
“Do whatever the f— you want, correctly, except crossfit cultism. No f—g cops,” the sign reportedly read.
The gym’s owner, Jim Chambers, said he took the sign down and regretted the profanity, but the policy still stands.
“We’ve had an explicitly stated ‘No Cop’ policy since we opened, and we also don’t open membership to active members of the military,” he told NBC.
Mr. Chambers, who is white, said the people who work out at his gym typically belong to minority groups and feel uncomfortable in the presence of law enforcement.
“We wanted one space that was just a little different. It’s not an aggressive, hetero-jock space that’s dominated by cops and soldiers,” he said. “It’s a place where you’re safe from that.
“And we don’t want to make police stronger so that they can hurt people more efficiently,” the gym owner added. “It’s not a personal thing, but if you put that uniform on, and quite honestly I view that as an occupying enemy army.”
Mr. Chambers said his gym has never and will never require police assistance.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Police Department told NBC that the gym’s policy wouldn’t stop them from responding to an emergency there.
The EAV Barbell Club describes itself on its website as a “safe, inclusive, alternative and affordable environment.”
“We are a radically aligned, left-friendly gym and community,” the gym’s “About” page states. “We require no one to agree with any set of politics, but if you are hostile to the fringe, you ought to look elsewhere. We wanted to create a gym that wouldn’t be prohibitive due to cost, or overly aggressive, exclusionary jock culture. We want elite athletes and total newbs, anyone looking to pick up a bar. Meatheads welcome, too, so long as tolerance abounds.”
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