Fitness Center Internal Memo Labeling Pride/BLM Symbols ‘Freedom Of Expression’ Draws Backlash
Pride flag.
Alexander Spatari via Getty Images

An internal memo from the 24 Hour Fitness Center labels Black Lives Matter and Pride Symbols “freedom of expression” has drawn backlash over concerns the gym would be limiting display of the American flag. 

In the letter obtained by Libs Of TikTok, it informs employees that the fitness company is committed to “creating a more inclusive environment” before it details what is and is not allowed.

The memo said it encourages employees to “bring their full selves to work everyday” and then lists that “team members” can wear apparel that shows their “solidarity and support” for the following movements.

  1. “Black Lives Matter/BLM words.”
  2. “‘Pride’ and or pride rainbow logo.”
  3. “Juneteenth logo, symbol or date on Juneteenth (June 19).”
  4. “[US] Flag or United States logo” on federal holidays like Memorial Day, Flag Day, July 4th, Veterans Day, Patriots Day, etc.”

The leaked memo details come as Americans are being inundated all month long by corporate America from LGBTQ activists about embracing Pride.

In a statement to Newsweek, 24 Hour Fitness said that it would encourage all employees to wear American flag pins any day of the year.

“Currently and historically, 24 Hour Fitness’ policy regarding staff expression has allowed and encouraged wearing symbols like American flag pins any day of the year, including prominent national holidays like Memorial Day, Flag Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day,” a spokesman told Newsweek.

Last year, Target faced a massive backlash when it put its June “Pride” merchandise like “tuck-friendly” female swimsuits front and center in the store.  This year the retail store has decided it will tamp back the LGBTQ push after it faced boycotts and sinking sales. 

The retailer told the Associated Press that only a limited number of its stores would be carrying special LGBT-themed merchandise in June. The store said the merchandise would only be available in select markets, based on “guest insights and consumer research.”

Despite the pullback, the store said that it still maintained that it fully supported the LGBT movement. 

“Target is committed to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and year-round,” Target said. “Most importantly, we want to create a welcoming and supportive environment for our LGBTQIA+ team members, which reflects our culture of care for the over 400,000 people who work at Target.”

Last year, merchandise that was part of the store’s Pride collection, like “extra crotch coverage” female swimsuits and Pride-themed onesies, spurred calls for boycotts of Target, leading to declining sales and stock prices. Its sales plummeted during the second quarter, after the backlash started, and fell for the first time in six years, falling 5.4% compared to the same period last year. Online sales fell nearly twice as much, 10.5%, Target said. 

Leif Le Mahieu contributed to this piece.

This article has been updated to provide clarity about the memo and include comment from 24 Hours Fitness. 

Related: Planet Fitness Stock Plunges After It Canceled Membership Of Woman Who Photographed ‘Man In The Women’s Locker Room’

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