Story By: Koen Berghuis, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Europe’s largest fitness studio chain has come under fire for seemingly comparing barbell squat weight training with gay intimacy on social media.
Picture Credits: CEN & CEN/@mcfit_
The controversial image was shared on social media by McFIT, Europe’s largest chain of fitness centres with over 240 studios in countries such as Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland and Spain.
The German company shared the image of a man in a fitness studio doing barbell squats.
Behind him, a ‘spotter’ is standing to support him in the exercise and to ensure safety.
Alongside it, the fitness chain put an image of two apparently naked men in bed cuddling each other.
On the image is written in German: “Squats with a spotter. What it looks like. What it feels like.”
As a comment, the fitness chain wrote: “Tag your gym buddy!”
According to local media, several dozen members were not amused with the post and threatened to stop their membership.
The image was hotly debated in the German-speaking media whether it was actually making fun of gay men or whether it should be seen as a very inclusive image in what is often seen as a world full of macho culture.
One netizen wrote: “Why do you have to see sport as something sexual? McFIT, please stay professional.”
Another netizen wrote: “I’m lost for words. Which century are we living in?”
A proponent of the image disagreed and said it was actually supportive of LGBT rights.
The netizen wrote: “There is nothing weird about it when two gay men embrace each other.”
Another man wrote: “I should do more sports. Where can I subscribe?”
McFIT did not retract the image despite the social media storm.
A McFIT spokesman said: “We certainly did not want to cause any offence with it.”