By GRAHAME ANDERSON
A Bradford man with an Asian background who was told he couldn’t join a local gym because they had too many men claims he’d been racially profiled.
Flacks Fitness is a well established independent gym offering a range of state of the art equipment and more than 80 classes, from it’s base in Norman Lane. It’s impressive reputation however hasn’t gone down well with 34-year-old Mahmood Khan, who recently applied to take out a membership at the gym.
A Negative Experience
He told me: “I liked the look of Flacks initially and having taken a look at their website rang up to arrange an appointment for a tour of the facilities. I was told it wasn’t a problem and turned up at the designated time. The tour itself seemed quite short and certainly didn’t take into account all the available facilities. To be honest I didn’t really feel welcome and when I asked about membership, I was told someone would ring me in a couple of days but I didn’t feel confident at that stage.
“When no call came I left two messages before eventually being told I couldn’t join because they already had too many men. When I queried why I’d been invited on a tour in the first place if that was the case I was told, ‘things change on a day to day basis’. It wasn’t difficult to put everything together given the way it was handled. I do feel as if I’ve been discriminated against because of my profile. I’m just a regular guy who wanted to join the gym. It’s really annoying and frustrating given this is also a multi-cultural city.”
Asian Sunday has discovered several reviews of the gym posted on Google from other individuals who’d had a similar experience to Mahmood, going back as far as 2014. One from Mo said: “I am Pakistani (which should not matter), and the lady owner of the gym did everything possible to put me off joining. I just felt completely unwelcome.
“When I insisted on joining anyway, I was told the computer was broken and someone would give me a ring later in the week to take my details/bank direct debit. No one called me, even though I rang back twice.”
Another we found from O Shehab posted last year said: “When you ring up to enquire about memberships they tell you to come down to show you around only to disguise their real agenda, and that is if they don’t like your physical appearance or skin colour they make up an excuse that they aren’t signing up any male members which makes no sense.”
A potential lady member who also suffered a negative experience added: “Flacks do not allow certain types of people in. Colour, size. So rude!! Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
An excerpt from a review posted by Shizy01 reveals: “Went to join and shown around, then told we will call you and let you know if we have space. Call and say no space. Then my friend goes and is offered a place to join immediately on the same day he went. He declined.”
Mahmood added: “Why is this happening? The policy seems to change on a daily basis. I’m not stupid and old enough to know when people aren’t being genuine or have an agenda. To treat people that way in this day and age is gross.”
We made several attempts to contact Flacks Fitness for their side of the story by both telephone and email, but without success, though we were told our messages would be passed on to the management. Mahmood has since joined JDGyms in Manningham Road – his membership was accepted immediately following a tour of the site.