A gym owner in Atlanta, Georgia, is receiving severe backlash for banning law enforcement and (active) military officials from entering or working out at his business.
Jim Chambers, owner of the EAV Barbell Club, began making headlines after locals noticed an unexpected sign gracing the front door of his facility. “Do whatever the f*** you want, correctly, except crossfit cultism. No f****** cops,” the handwritten sign read.
A military veteran was among the first people to spot the notice and send its picture to local news channel, 11Alive News, which said the expletive-filled note could be seen from across the street. The sign immediately began gaining traction and Chambers became a target of hate mail and death threats.
However, the owner continues to stand by his decision.
“We’ve had an explicitly stated ‘no cop’ policy since we opened, and we also don’t open membership to active members of the military,” Chambers explained, clarifying the rule does not target veterans.
As it turns out, Chambers, who is described as a lifelong political activist by some, put the “no cops” policy in place because most people who workout at his gym are minorities and activists who would be uncomfortable if police officers were to work out there.
“We are indicting systems,” Chambers added. “We are not indicting individuals.”
However, he has reportedly taken down the sign — but only because it included cuss words. A new sign is supposed to take its place.
“It was really just that the vulgarity in that sign, and that seems to bring it out for people,” Chambers told the news site. “I didn’t want the other folks there to take the heat that I’m willing to take.”
According to the HuffPost, Chamber’s decision to enforce this ban came after the fatal police shooting of Ismael Lopez — a Mississippi man shot at his home earlier this month after police said they mistakenly went to his address while pursuing someone else.
Chambers said Lopez’s tragic death left him “really angry.”
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Police Department told 11Alive News, “Were we to respond to an emergency there, this sign would not stop us from lawfully doing our job.”
Chambers responded by saying he would not stop authorities from doing their job. It is just that they are not allowed to exercise in his gym.
“If they have a warrant, they can go anywhere they want, but we’re not breaking the law,” the owner said.
For those wondering if EAV Barbell Club’s policy is violating any anti-discrimination law, any decision would be up to courts, given that law enforcement officers are not a protected class.
It is also important to note a number of Facebook users, most of whom have not even visited the facility, have given the gym negative reviews, dropping its rating to 1.2 stars.
Banner/Thumbnail: Pixabay, markusspiske