A U.S. Army veteran said he was asked not to wear a shirt supporting President Donald Trump at a gym at which he works out in Missouri because it was “racist,” KMOV reported.
Staff Sgt. Jake Talbot said he has worn the “Trump 2016” shirt before to CDY Fitness in Troy, but was approached by the owner Sunday and asked not to wear it again, the television station reported.
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“I was just puzzled there for a second. She said that it was racist and represents racism and that’s when I when I was like ‘Oh, you’re done," Talbot told KMOV.
After finishing his workout, Talbot posted a video on his Facebook page.
Talbot says he finished his workout before posting his frustrations on social media.
“The owner, Liz (Drew), came up to me and said that my Trump shirt I had on was offensive and that I needed to remove it in order to work out there, and it’s linked to racism. Which I freaking I hate that word, it’s used way too loosely. It’s 2019, get the hell over it, it’s not racism,” Talbot on his video.
Several CDY Fitness members threatened to cancel their memberships, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Drew, who declined to be interviewed by KMOV, said the shirt made several members uncomfortable. On Sunday, she posted that the the gym “Shouldn’t be a political forum for anyone,” the television station reported.
Drew later posted a statement on the gym’s Facebook page, but deleted the account after receiving a lot of “hateful messages,” the Post Dispatch reported.
She disputed Talbot's claim.
"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,'" Drew told the newspaper.
Drew told the Post-Dispatch that Talbot had worn the shirt before and that other gym users, including blacks and Hispanic members, had complained to her. She said she put a lot of thought into asking him not to wear it again.
"This was about protecting the comfort level of all members and keeping politics out of my gym. Sadly, it has done just the opposite," she said.
Talbot said another gym offered him a year membership for free, KMOV reported.
Talbot said he believed Drew could have handled the situation differently. “It’s just the racist part she brought up that I just do not like,” Talbot told KMOV.
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