Members must be tolerant of others - Virgin Active

2015-08-13 13:25
Video

WATCH: BDS member wearing a pro-Palestinian T-shirt in Virgin Active escorted out of gym

2015-08-13 10:13

A Virgin Active gym member was asked to leave the gym after arriving for a session in a t-shirt with a political message. Watch what happened in this video shared on YouTube. WATCH

Cape Town – Items of clothing are not banned from Virgin Active branches but members must exercise tolerance and respect for others, the gym group said on Thursday.

The club was responding to an incident on Wednesday which saw Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) co-ordinator and Palestine activist, Muhammed Desai, removed from the Old Eds branch in Houghton after other members complained that they were offended by his T-shirt.

Desai was wearing a T-shirt stating, “From the coast of Cape Town to the coast of Gaza, in Solidarity with Palestinians against Israeli apartheid.”

“Our goal at Virgin Active is for our health clubs to be neutral spaces in which members can pursue their health and wellness goals while, at the same time, accommodating the rights and freedoms of all members,” said the club’s communications head, Les Aupiais, in a statement.

“We are not in the business of restricting speech or policing personal behaviour unless it contravenes the club rules, the law or carries some kind of threat to the safety of staff and members.”

'Intent on making political statement'

Aupiais said Desai’s T-shirt “generated strong complaints from fellow members” and he was politely requested by management not to wear it in future.

Desai then allegedly “aggressively declined” to do this and appeared at the club.

He was “clearly intent on making a political statement and generating confrontation”, said Aupiais.

“This is a situation we have never encountered before and we have learned valuable lessons.”

The club said it has sought an urgent meeting with Desai, whose membership has not been revoked.

Desai earlier told News24 that he will be going to the Human Rights Commission of SA and the Equality Court over the matter.


Read more on:    bds  |  virgin active  |  johannesburg

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
41 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.