The Island Personal Training gym in Alameda, California, has received backlash over its racist advertisement against Asian massage parlors on its company website.
“We are California state-certified, speak English (kind of rare for the field ‘round these parts) and communicate clearly with our clients to ensure each massage is targeted to the client,” the advertisement read. “We never cut our sessions short, answer phones, or walk out when someone walks in the front door mid-session like all these shady Asian ‘massage parlors’ do.”
ABC7 news reporter Dion Lim shared a photo of the advertisement to her official Twitter account on Feb. 4. She also visited the gym to speak with its owner, Jason Wilson, who reportedly locked his gym doors and did not comment on the matter, according to Lim.
“Do they even change their sheets (a just question based on what goes on inside of those establishments)?” the advertisement continued.
Following Lim’s visit to the gym, their website is now currently shut down and their official Instagram account was set to private.
In a previous Facebook post last May, Island Personal Training reportedly accused other massage parlors in the Redding area of operating as brothels, according to SF Gate. They reportedly stated that their gym is “not a dark, shady, and/or dirty place that smells like Chinese food.”
Lim was able to speak with Facebook users residing in Alameda, Erica Peck and “Jojo,” who have actively engaged in discussions about Wilson’s branding.
“Who is he marketing this toward? It makes me so mad!” Peck told ABC7.
“I really hope he can learn, open up and grow and become a part of the wonderful community that’s here in Alameda,” Jojo stated. “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.”
Cynthia Choi, an executive director for Chinese for Affirmative Action and one of the founders of STOPAAPIHate, linked the gym’s anti-Asian advertisement to the 2021 Atlanta spa shootings.
“It’s very triggering given what happened with the Atlanta area shooting,” Choi told ABC7. “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.”