Gym operator PureGym has sparked a backlash after promoting a workout called “12 Years of Slave” to coincide with Black History Month.
“Slavery was hard and so is this,” the firm’s Luton and Dunstable branch said in a Facebook and Instagram post publicising the exercise routine.
But the move was condemned by users, with one calling it “wrong, insensitive and horrendous on all levels”.
The posts have now been removed and the firm has apologised on Twitter.
“Entitled 12YearsOfSlave (after the Oscar-winning movie), this is our workout of the month,” read the gym’s original social media post, which went on to say that it had been designed to celebrate Black History Month.
But one Facebook user said PureGym had an “offensively tone-deaf marketing team” if it thought comparing a workout to slavery was acceptable.
In its response on Twitter, PureGym said it apologised “unreservedly” for the post.
“This post was wholly unacceptable, was not approved or endorsed by the company and was removed when it was brought to our attention,” the firm said.
PureGym thanked those who had raised the issue, adding: “We take this matter extremely seriously and are urgently investigating how and why this post was made.”
PureGym, based in Leeds, is the UK’s largest gym chain by membership.