Jake Talbot, a U.S. Army veteran, has found a new gym — one with a dress code a little less politically tinged, he says.
Talbot says he was wearing his Trump 2016 T-shirt to his workout Sunday when the owner of CDY Fitness in Troy, Mo. told him it was making others in the gym “uncomfortable,” according to KMOV.
“I was just puzzled there for a second,” Talbot told the station. “She said that it was racist and represents racism and that’s when I when I was like ‘oh, you’re done.’”
Talbot posted a video to Facebook after his workout, taking exception specifically to the connection between his T-shirt and “racism.”
“That it’s linked to racism,” Talbot said in response to the owner’s request. “I hate that word whenever people use it. It’s thrown around way too loosely. It’s 2019. Get the hell over it. It’s not racism.”
Talbot’s video had been viewed more than 14,000 times and shared 326 times as of Wednesday morning. Several CDY members threatened to cancel their memberships over the political T-shirt turf battle, the St. Louis Dispatch reported.
Liz Burke, the gym owner, took to the gym’s Facebook page in a since-deleted post responding to all the commotion.
A screenshot obtained by KMOV reads in part that Burke doesn’t believe her “gym should be a political forum for anyone.”
“I pay attention to what my members say and feel,” Burke said, according to the Dispatch. “[The shirt] makes people uncomfortable. I will always defend the belief in tolerance.”
Another gym in town offered Talbot a free membership for a year after his video caught fire on Facebook, KSDK reported.