The co-owner of a New Jersey gym that remained open in defiance of Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order during the COVID pandemic, then saw himself sentenced to one year of probation for contempt of court after he and his co-owner removed the doors of the gym to prevent police from locking them out, had some harsh words for Murphy on Friday as his probation came to an end.
After Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti, the owners of Atilis gym, opened the gym in May 2020 in defiance of Murphy’s order, Murphy pronounced, “If you show up at that gym again tomorrow, there’s going to be a different reality than showing up today. These aren’t just words.” In January 2022, Smith and Trumbetti were sentenced to one year of probation, prompting Smith to tweet, “We got one year probation for the crime of taking our doors off to prevent government goons from locking us out of our gym.”
But on Friday, that year was up. Smith fired at Murphy, “The governor of NJ tried to have our doors locked at Atilis Gym. We took the doors off and stayed open for 24/7 for 40+ days. We were charged with multiple felonies. Today I completed one year of probation. My only question to Phil Murphy is, how’s your wife’s boyfriend doing?”
The governor of NJ tried to have our doors locked at Atilis Gym. We took the doors off and stayed open for 24/7 for 40+ days. We were charged with multiple felonies. Today I completed one year of probation. My only question to Phil Murphy is, how’s your wife’s boyfriend doing?
— Ian Smith (@iansmithfitness) January 27, 2023
In August 2020, CNN’s Chris Cuomo interviewed Smith and Trumbetti, and a heated confrontation ensued, with Trumbetti ripping Cuomo, saying, “You’re knocking Trump because of the total numbers,” and pointing out that “53.3 percent of the deaths from 0.6 percent of the population,” “a f***ing stat that nobody’s talking about.”
Cuomo began the interview by noting that the pair had been arrested and “charged with defying the state’s COVID restrictions last week.” He played a videotape of the men kicking in the plywood barricade at the front door of their gym in order to reopen it.
Cuomo noted, “This is a court battle; they could go to jail. Now you have the state AG’s office there in Jersey recommending a fine of up to $10,000 a day.”
He asked the men for their perspectives on the issue.
“I would say that actually, when this first started, they asked for two weeks,” Trumbetti replied. “When we first opened up, we gave them two months. Then we gave them until May 18th. At two months they had no plan. Plain and simple. They had no plan — we did. We actually wanted to prove that we could open up safe. They actually say that liquor stores are essential. That actually every place that – you can go into Home Depot and Lowe’s is essential. I disagree with that, okay? We’re all essential. Everybody is essential.”
“And bottom line is, this isn’t about opening up a gym; they have violated everyone’s constitutional rights,” he continued. “We all have the right to make a living. We all have a right to actually do what we want to do as Americans. We are promised liberty, and they have actually put such oppressive restrictions on us, it is just unacceptable to us.”
“You seem like you’re a big numbers guy,” Trumbetti said to Cuomo. “And, actually, I would like to put some numbers out there for you. Are you aware that actually when this first started, there are 2.1 million people in the United States in long-term care facilities that represent 0.6 percent of the population. But on July 17, that 0.6 percent of the population represented 53.3 percent of all the deaths that occurred in the United States from COVID.”
Cuomo stated, “What you’re saying about long-term care facilities, I’m not questioning it. We did the wrong job by the most vulnerable people. And even though, obviously, the oldest and the most fragile will die the most in a situation like this, it doesn’t mean you did it the right way. The only thing I would caution you about —”
“You’re knocking Trump because of the total numbers,” Trumbetti interjected, repeating, “53.3 percent of the deaths from 0.6 percent of the population.”
Cuomo jumped in, “Frank –”
Trumbetti snapped, “Bottom line, that’s a f***ing stat that nobody’s talking about.”
Cuomo interjected, “Frank, watch your mouth on television.”