The Daily Telegraph

Slav­ery was hard and so is this work­out, gym users told

- By Jessica Carpani Fitness · Healthy Living · Luton · Twitter · Instagram

A GYM has been widely crit­i­cised af­ter telling mem­bers its Black His­tory Month work­out would be hard “like slav­ery”.

The now-deleted post by Pur­e­gym’s Lu­ton branch ad­ver­tised a work­out in­spired by the film 12 Years a Slave for Black His­tory Month.

The post read: “En­ti­tled ‘12 years of Slave’ (af­ter the epic movie) this is our work­out of the month to cel­e­brate black his­tory month. Slav­ery was hard and so is this.” The work­out con­sisted of 12 ex­er­cises in­clud­ing a 100-me­tre sprint, floor wipers, pis­tol squats and burpees.

A spokesman for Pur­e­gym has since apol­o­gised “un­re­servedly”.

Cather­ine Ross and Lynda Bur­rell, of The Na­tional Caribbean Her­itage Mu­seum and who work on Black His­tory Month, said the in­ci­dent was “pre­cisely why Black His­tory Month is es­sen­tial for all peo­ple, and why black his­tory needs to be taught in schools”.

The work­out has also caused out­rage on­line, with Labour MP for Lu­ton North, Sarah Owen, writ­ing: “That of­fen­sive Pur­e­gym ad­vert shows ex­actly why we need #Black­his­to­ryMonth and why the #Black­livesmat­ter move­ment is so im­por­tant.”

Dr Shola Mos-shog­bamimu, a lawyer and ac­tivist said: “Are you in­sane Pur­e­Gym Lu­ton? Who wrote and ap­proved “Slav­ery was hard so is this” for your #Black­his­to­rymonth work­out?”

A spokesman for Pur­e­gym said: “This post is wholly un­ac­cept­able, was not ap­proved or en­dorsed by the com­pany and was re­moved as soon as it was brought to our at­ten­tion.

“Each of our 271 gyms has its own so­cial me­dia chan­nels which are run

‘We take this mat­ter ex­tremely se­ri­ously and are ur­gently in­ves­ti­gat­ing how and why this post was made’

lo­cally. We take this mat­ter ex­tremely se­ri­ously and are ur­gently in­ves­ti­gat­ing how and why this post was made.”

But Matt Simp­son, the per­sonal trainer at Pure Gym Lu­ton, be­lieved to be be­hind the work­out, ap­peared to de­fend his po­si­tion on Twit­ter.

Re­ply­ing to one fu­ri­ous tweeter, the trainer who had pre­vi­ously ad­ver­tised the course on his In­sta­gram in Oc­to­ber last year said: “What’s so in­ter­est­ing about it? I’ve merely taken the name of an Os­car-win­ning film and given it to a work­out hav­ing the num­ber of ex­er­cises co­in­cide with the num­ber in the ti­tle.” Mr Simp­son has been con­tacted by

for com­ment.

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