A California gym chain is facing backlash for promoting massages that include racist language directed towards Asian Americans.
Island Personal Training, which runs gyms in California’s Alameda and Redding advertised their massage therapists as those who “speak English … kind of rare for the field round these parts” and continues to say, they’re not like “shady Asian massage parlours”, reported ABC7.
It added that unlike other massage parlours, Island Personal Training is “not a dark shady, and/or dirty place that smells like Chinese food”.
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The website and the Facebook pages appeared to have been now taken down after backlash on social media.
The posts were called out in a Facebook group that included over a hundred members.
One of the members, Erica Peck from Alameda posted on the group, “Who is he marketing this toward? Just…UGH it makes me so mad!”
“I was like, ‘oh my god, this guy. I don’t know what decade he’s living in or country he’s living in, and this is not okay’,” said another user who requested to be identified as Jojo to ABC7 said.
It has also been flagged by STOPAAPIHate, a non-profit organisation that tracks incidents of hate and discrimination against Asian Americans in the country.
One of the organisation’s founders Cynthia Choi said: “It’s very triggering given what happened with the Atlanta area shooting.”
“We’re coming up on that anniversary where Asian women and Asian businesses were targeted.”
“This kind of racist rhetoric and commentary adds to the persistent stereotypes that are not only offensive but really put our communities in danger.”
The gym chain owner Jason Wilson refused to speak with ABC7 after agreeing to an interview.
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“I really hope he (Wilson) can learn, open up and grow and become a part of the wonderful community that’s here in Alameda,” said Jojo.
“I’m not trying to bash anyone’s business, but I want to make sure the businesses in Alameda are inclusive and not causing struggles.”