Planet Fitness Founder: Company 'Pretty Much Destroyed' Amid Boycott

Planet Fitness Logo

Planet Fitness founder and CEO Mike Grondahl this week said the popular gym chain has been destroyed after allegations of internal abuse at the company and recent boycotts of the brand after the company canceled the membership of a member who spoke out after seeing a transgender woman in the women's locker room. 

Planet Fitness' policy allows gym members to use the locker room associated with their gender identity, but the policy has led to a few high-profile cases of women feeling uncomfortable in the locker rooms, while other women and children have reported abuse and sexual harassment at the facilities. 

In a 15-minute interview with Libs of Tik Tok, the group that initiated an online call for a boycott of Planet Fitness, Grondahl said that the company's Judgement Free Zone was meant to be a welcoming signal to novice gymgoers. However, he added that it's "devastating" what that's come to mean today. 

"Planet Fitness was like another child for me. And I put my heart and soul into building that company and it's been pretty much destroyed in, ya know, it’s lost all respect within the country within the last couple weeks," he said. "There's no common sense standing behind this."

Grondahl, who sold the company to a private equity firm in November 2012, said he didn't approve of the policies or the response to them in recent weeks. Grondahl remained CEO of the company until he was ousted after he reported that the chief administrative officer and general counsel hired by the private equity firm had been found guilty of multiple charges over several years and abused minors on several occasions. 

"When we went public, the majority of the board knew that this lead attorney was a pedophile. It's in the culture." Grondahl said during the TikTok interview.

That culture includes widespread accusations of abuse at the company. 

"It started at the corporate office, this attorney started abusing employees, then he's abusing them sexually, now the culture leads into the people doing the right thing are being thrown out of Planet Fitness," Grondahl said. 

Grondahl went on to say that Planet Fitness' accounting and reporting processes are "suspect," noting that "the way that they report their same-store sales and the amount of units that they can say that they can put in America is complete bullsh*t."

One short report from the "Bear Cave" in January 2023 dubbed Planet Fitness an "illegal billing operation with gyms on the side," noting how difficult it is to cancel a membership at the gym. Planet Fitness is down 23 percent since that report came out.

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