The owner of an eastern Missouri fitness center in the town of Troy is defending herself from an online firestorm that erupted when a member said he was told to change out of a “2016 Trump for President” shirt while working out.
CDY Gym owner Liz Drew stated she received complaints from African-American and Hispanic members and told Jake Talbot she would be appreciative if he didn’t wear the shirt in the future.
Talbot, who is reportedly an Army veteran, said in a Facebook video Sunday that Drew told him the shirt was “offensive” and “linked to racism.” Drew says that since then, she’s received thousands of hateful messages online. She says that her aim was “keeping politics out of my gym” but that “it has done just the opposite.”
In Talbot’s video, he says “The owner Liz came up to me and said that Trump shirt I had on was offensive and said I needed to remove it in order to work out there, and that it is linked to racism. I hate the word, it’s used way too loosely. It’s 2019, get the hell over it, it’s not racism.”
Drew said Wednesday that she did not give Talbot an ultimatum but did ask him to stop wearing the shirt because it was making others uncomfortable.
“I said, ‘Jake, we’re friends and I love you, but I’d appreciate it if you didn’t wear that shirt in the future,’” she said in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
But Talbot maintains that “it’s a free country,” St. Louis’ KDSK-TV reported.
“It’s what I fight for. I love this country, and I’m very patriotic,” Talbot told the station.
- Lee Hartman | Metro Voice News