Activist still taking Virgin Active to SAHRC over T-shirt incident

2015-08-14 13:18

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

Johannesburg - Activist Muhammed Desai said on Friday he is still going to take Virgin Active to the SA Human Rights Commission and the Equality Court, even though he has been given permission to wear his BDS “pro-Palestine” T-shirt in its gyms.

He said he had met with the group’s management on Thursday and they did not apologise or take responsibility for what had transpired.

Desai told News24 he would not use its facilities until he has received a public apology in writing from the gym chain.

Virgin Active made headlines on Thursday for apparently kicking Desai out of the Old Eds branch in Houghton after other members took offence to his Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) T-shirt that stated support for Palestine and opposition to “apartheid Israel”.

Desai is a co-ordinator for BDS.

In a statement on Thursday, Virgin Active said items of clothing aren’t banned from its branches but members must exercise tolerance and respect for others.

“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.

Aupiais told broadcaster eNCA on Friday that the company has now resolved that members can wear whichever items of clothing they wish.

Desai said the matter “goes beyond Palestine and goes to freedom of speech”.

Read more on:    bds  |  virgin active  |  johannesburg  |  middle east peace
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