Bias Watch

Conservatives say boycott over trans-inclusive policies cost Planet Fitness millions. It’s a lie.

Indianapolis - May 2018: Planet Fitness local gym and workout center. Planet Fitness markets itself as a Judgment Free Zone I
Photo: Shutterstock

Chaya Raichik, who goes by Libs of TikTok online, believes Planet Fitness is currently facing the “most successful boycott since Bud Light” because the gym chain allows trans women to use women’s locker rooms.

But while Raichik and right-wing media outlets have claimed that the boycott caused the gym to lose “$400 million in value” — something Raichik called “a bloodbath” — there’s no proof, either of the boycott or its alleged financial harm to the gym. In fact, Planet Fitness has stood by its trans-inclusive policies and LGBTQ+ support for years despite right-wing backlash.

Raichik alleges that the boycott started because a Planet Fitness in Alaska banned Patricia Silva, an anti-LGBTQ+ woman who photographed and confronted a transgender woman who was using the women’s locker room without harassing anyone. The gym revoked Silva’s membership and filed a police report against her for photographing people in the locker room, something that is specifically forbidden by the gym’s policies.

Raichik noted that the hashtag #BoycottPlanetFitness has been trending on X. However, there’s no proof that any people using the hashtag are current or former Planet Fitness members. Raichik then claimed that Planet Fitness has “a history of making women unsafe in the women’s locker rooms” because in September 2023, an adult assigned male at birth exposed themself to a 15-year-old girl at a Planet Fitness gym in Georgia.

It’s unclear whether the adult claimed to be transgender. Police arrested the adult and Planet Fitness found they had violated the gym’s anti-harassment and locker room modesty policies. The gym’s policies state that if a member “is acting in bad faith and improperly asserts a gender identity, they may be asked to leave and their membership may be terminated.”

Raichik also pointed to a 2015 incident in which the gym revoked a cis woman’s membership after she repeatedly complained to other gym members and staff about a trans woman in the locker room. The trans woman wasn’t harassing anyone, and she was a guest of another gym member.

“In expressing her concerns about the policy, the member in question exhibited behavior that club management deemed inappropriate and disruptive to other members, which is a violation of the membership agreement and as a result her membership was canceled,” Planet Fitness said in a statement about the 2015 incident.

The Planet Fitness chain is widely known for being a self-professed “judgement free zone,” a welcoming environment where people of all types can exercise without fear of intimidation and ridicule from other members. Its gender identity nondiscrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity. The gym has consistently stood up to transphobic members who harass and threaten trans patrons, even as red state legislators ban trans people from sports teams and school facilities.

Additionally, the chain has observed Pride Month, writing, “We strive to create a community where everyone is included and feels like they belong. Not just this month, but every day.” It has also partnered with the It Gets Better Project to help support LGBTQ+ youth.

However, Raichik claimed that the gym chain is now being punished for its progressive policies. She pointed out that, after news spread about the gym banning Silva, the gym’s stock price dropped from $5.3 billion on March 14 to $4.9 billion on March 19, constituting a $400 million loss in value. However, the business’s stock price was already declining before March 11, when reports of Silva’s revoked membership began spreading online.

In fact, a five-year overview of Planet Fitness’ stock price shows that it usually peaks in January — a time of year when many people usually begin new gym memberships to fulfill their New Year’s resolution to get in shape and lose weight — and then declines in the following pre-summer months. Because the business’s overall profitability is determined by monthly memberships (and this alleged boycott started barely two weeks ago), there’s no concrete proof that the loss of the gym’s stock value is connected to member outrage over its trans-inclusive policies.

A chart showing Planet Fitness' stock price over the last month
Fox Business A chart showing Planet Fitness’ stock price over the last month

Raichik claims that Planet Fitness is “covering up membership cancellations” by members upset over its trans-inclusive policies. As proof, she pointed to a single video of a man who said that gym employees refused to note his disagreement with its trans policies on his official cancellation form. Raichik also posted a recording of a Planet Fitness customer service representative allegedly claiming that Silva’s photo of the trans gym member wasn’t taken at a Planet Fitness gym.

Raichik also claimed that Planet Fitness is trying “to groom kids by giving them ‘queer books’ to confuse them about their identity and introduce them to the extremely harmful radical gender ideology.” In actuality, the gym previously partnered with the It Gets Better Project to provide LGBTQ+-themed books to gay-straight alliances in schools. Raichik and other right-wingers constantly claim that any mention of LGBTQ+ issues to kids is an attempt to “groom” them.

She also blamed Planet Fitness for allowing a registered sex offender, Adam Yindana, to join one of their gyms. However, she didn’t mention that Yindana joined the gym using an alias, that he isn’t trans and never said he was, and that he wasn’t harassing anyone in the women’s locker room. The gym canceled his membership and assisted police with their investigation when a gym member accused Yindana of following her around the facility and recording her with his smartphone.

LGBTQ Nation reached out to Planet Fitness for a comment regarding Raichik’s claims.

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