A Canadian man is suing Equinox, claiming sexual assault by a yoga instructor at one of the luxury gym brand’s San Francisco locations.
Colin Heilbut, 33, transferred his membership from Toronto when he moved to San Francisco. His lawyers told Yahoo Lifestyle that Heilbut was banned from the gym for life without being given a reason after he complained about having been assaulted by a yoga instructor.
“Why did [Equinox] take negative action against Heilbut because he complained? They wouldn’t state specifically when he asked them point-blank why his membership was being revoked,” Heilbut’s lawyer, Lawrence Organ, told Yahoo. “They wouldn’t say the particular reasons why, but there was sort of an implication that it was his complaint about the abuse and the assault.”
Heilbut says he loves Equinox and calls his time at the gym an overall “positive experience.” He said that he has spent as much as $10,000 in membership fees at Equinox over the past two years.
In a blog on Hackernoon, Heilbut detailed his experience noting that while it wasn’t his first time participating in a yoga class, the assault “was the last thing I was expecting.”
“Three weeks after I’d sent Equinox a request for assistance, I received a call from a senior global executive,” Heilbut wrote. “Without an ounce of compassion, he told me I was banned from Equinox — that, as a private gym, they had the right to cancel my membership for any reason, and they’ve decided to terminate mine.”
Heilbut filed a criminal complaint with the San Francisco Police Department, which was eventually closed without charges. Equinox turned down Heilbut’s request for security camera footage of the incident, and both the SFPD and Equinox denied Yahoo’s requests to see the footage.
Yahoo reports that the yoga instructor has been let go for having “violated employee policies unrelated to the assault allegations.”