Twitter pressure spurs Virgin into action

2012-02-06 19:53

Cape Town - An outcry on social networks after a muted response by Gym group Virgin Active to a racist incident at one of its branches has spurred the company to re-open the investigation on Monday.

A woman told The Star newspaper that she was called a "bloody kaffir, a cockroach and a selfish bitch" by a man in her spinning class on December 31 after she continuously shouted "yebo" to the music and exercise at the gym group's.

Virgin Active members reacted angrily on Twitter and Facebook, calling for the company to "do the right thing", after the offending member received a "final warning".

The gym group has now confirmed through a statement on it's Facebook page that an investigation into the incident will immediately be re-opened.

Virgin active managing director Ross Faragher-Thomas said "I have been following this issue on Twitter and it is of real concern to me. I've asked my team to immediately re-open the matter as I personally
want to get to the bottom of this."

He said that nobody at Virgin Active would tolerate racial prejudice of any kind, and promise to keep everyone informed of this issue and to provide feedback as soon as possibl

Earlier, Liz Hleza recounted how she thought that the man was going to hit her as he was "very angry".

"He said I should keep quiet and kept saying this bloody kaffir, you kaffir. He was pointing fingers at me. He said bloody cunt and that I was a selfish bitch.

"He also told me that I was born walking on four legs with a tail, and I should go back to the bushes where I belong and make that noise there.

After the class, Hleza went to the manager on duty to complain and when that manager called the man and his friend to her office, they refused to go.

The man, she said, swore at her again. "He said 'You bloody kaffir, you are a cockroach and next time I come to the gym I will bring Doom to spray you with'."

The woman was reportedly unhappy with the way Virgin's management handled the situation.

Virgin Active's Karen Gordon told The Star that the franchise did not tolerate discrimination and that "the member that allegedly misbehaved also received formal correspondence… which included a final warning".

Regarding the instructor’s failure to intervene, Gordon said he had claimed he had been unable to hear the verbal exchanges.

The man apologised on Saturday in a meeting convened by the club, and Hleza accepted the apology.

However, she said she wanted her story to be told "because… there are still people like that out there".

Twitter users such as Elana Williams said: "I train at this branch of VA. Unfortunately, I'm not surprised by anything I have read."

Victor Dlamini tweeted: "In the end they will have no choice but to do the right thing. They must terminate the membership of the bully."

On Virgin Active’s Facebook page, Lindiwe Thabethe, wrote: "I have very angry by the story on IOL about racism at Virgin Active. At this day and age we still get people who get away with racism. Virgin Active was supposed to solve the issue immediately and a final warning is definitely not the appropriate reaction. [sic]"

Read more on:    virgin active  |  johannesburg  |  racism
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

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
93 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Parties serve urgent application over Tlakula

Opposition parties have filed an urgent application in the Electoral Court over their demand that IEC chair Pansy Tlakula must resign, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Bellville - 18:24 PM
    Road name: N1 Outbound
    DELAYS approaching the Durban Road exit
  • Thursday Cape Town - 18:04 PM
    Road name: N1 Outbound
    ACCIDENT obstructing two lanes at the M5 Koeberg Interchange - DELAYS from Lower Church Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

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.