Planet Fitness, which bills itself as “The Judgement Free Zone,” is getting backlash after one of its locations in Florida asked a man with Tourette’s Syndrome to leave because he was being too loud.
According to the North Fort Myers Fox affiliate, Josh Ertter went to the Planet Fitness Merchant’s Crossing location in Fort Myers to get in a quick workout with his fiancé and brother. Upon entering the facility, he told the staff that he has Tourette’s.
Ertter says minutes later, he was approached by the assistant manager and told he would have to leave.
“He was like ‘sir, I know you have Tourette’s, and I know you can’t control it, but we’re going to have to ask you to leave. You’re not welcomed here.' And I was like what? Seriously?” Ertter told Fox.
Ertter said he’s not telling his story because he wants to hurt Planet Fitness, rather he wants to educate people about Tourette’s, which can present with involuntary verbal or motor tics.
“I truly want to use this platform as a way to raise awareness for Tourette’s because of the lack of education,” he said. “To get kicked out of somewhere and discriminated against for that, that’s just ignorance and intolerance.”
Planet Fitness released the following statement, apologizing for the incident:
"We sincerely apologize for the unfortunate incident that took place at our North Fort Myers club. In this instance, a staff member enforced a company policy in error. While the staff’s actions were not malicious in their intent, we are working closely with the franchise owner to reeducate the staff on our current policies and protocols. We have also contacted this guest directly to personally convey our sincerest regrets." -Becky Zirlen, Senior Public Relations Manager