Gym slammed for ‘using suicide to sell memberships’

A fitness company is under fire amidst claims of using male suicide as a way to promote their business. 

On their online advertisement, the business used the rate of male suicide to prompt men to join their gym.

The Gym Group, who runs 140 fitness gyms around the country, have launched a ‘Movember’ promotion deal where men can join the gym by only paying £6 for the first month.

Their promotion, which was posted on their Facebook page, stated that it was to ‘stop men dying too young’ and encouraged the use of fitness to aid mental health problems.

Facebook users have filled the comment section with criticism of the company. The Movember charity have issued a statement regarding the issue and defends the actions of The Gym Company.

Comments condemning the company

One Facebook user said that The Gym Group ‘should be ashamed of themselves’.

While another commented: “The way I read this advert is that it is saying, ‘If you are planning on killing yourself then don’t worry as you only need to pay £6 gym membership’.”

Karrie Miszkowska wrote on the post: “I’m actually pretty shocked that you have used suicide as a marketing technique. Shame on you!”

Tommy Wilson commented: “Using suicide to promote joining your gym. How nice. And I was actually considering joining.”

‘Using male suicide to sell memberships’

Dominic Goodeve, condemned the gym for ‘using male suicide to sell memberships’.

He added: “Despite the discount, you’re making money of the tragic loss of countless young men. I’m all for getting people into the gym, and exercise is fantastic for mental health. But perhaps make a donation or partner with a charity rather than exploit a tragedy for financial gain.”

Others took the chance to defend the fitness company.

One commented: “Why is it such human nature to go straight for a negative instead of seeing the positive. Spend time going to the Movember website and see the good work they do.

Aside from reducing monthly membership to get people a good start and doing something about their health, it’s also promoting a good cause.”

Movember partnership with The Gym Group

The charity, Movember, have confirmed partnership with The Gym Group, who have raised over £100,000 for the charity and couldn’t ‘thank them enough’. 

A spokesperson for Movember said: “At the Movember Foundation we are very proud of our partnership with The Gym Group. We are very grateful for their commitment to get more people moving throughout Movember and for their support to the community in their fundraising activities with a special introductory membership offer. The Gym is committed to raise £100,000 for us this year, and we can’t thank them enough.”

Movember have defended The Gym Group

The Gym Group have since issued a statement to address the criticisms.

They told UNIfied: “We take mental and physical health issues very seriously at The Gym. Keeping fit and healthy is as important for the mind as it is for the body, so that is why this month, The Gym is working to do something amazing for men’s health by raising £100,000 for the Movember Foundation.

“In the process, we are actively encouraging as many people in the UK as possible to get moving by engaging in Movember’s 60K Fundraising Challenges and support the fight to stop men dying too young, hence the recent Movember promotion. All our gyms are involved in this charitable initiative. Our intention is to raise awareness of men’s mental health as well as their physical health. Every single penny that is donated to charity at The Gym over November is going directly to The Movember Foundation.

“On Wednesday 14 October we hosted the UK’s largest fitness day to get people across the country moving. We opened our gyms to everyone for free all day, with all donations going to The Movember Foundation.”

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. 

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Claisse Opulencia

Editor-in-Chief of Unified. Claisse is a third year multimedia journalism student at CCCU. Amnesty Media Award Finalist 2018, IRN Awards Runner-up 2018 and nominated for two SPA Awards 2018.

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