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Anytime Fitness apologizes for franchisee's 'I Can't Breathe' themed workout

The trainer who created the exercise routine has been placed on leave

(SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images)

Anytime Fitness has apologized after one of its franchise locations offered a workout called "I Can't Breathe," advertised with the image of a person taking a knee along with the order: "And don't you dare lay down."

What are the details?

A trainer at the Anytime Fitness location in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, posted a dry-erase board revealing their "I Can't Breathe" routine this week, which co-owner Jen Dunnington told TMZ Sports was intended to "honor" George Floyd — who uttered the words while being held down by a police officer before dying in police custody last month.

Someone snapped a photo of the board — which featured a drawing of a person kneeling along with the phrase, "And don't you dare lay down" — and it went viral, leading to widespread backlash from critics who said the workout theme mocked Floyd.

Dunnington delivered numerous apologies on social media over the ordeal, and Anytime Fitness corporate also stepped in to offer a two-part apologetic statement.

The president of Anytime Fitness joined the parent company's co-founders in expressing their "shock" over the "I Can't Breathe" workout, writing, "No matter the intent, we absolutely do not condone the words, illustrations, or actions this represents. To our employees, owners and members, we are truly and profoundly sorry that this incident occurred."

In a follow-up statement, the brand co-founders reported:

The franchise owner of the Wauwatosa location has taken full responsibility for the actions of his location. The trainer who created and promoted the 'I Can't Breathe' workout has been placed on leave and his employment status is under review. Additionally, the owner and his entire staff have volunteered to be the first ones to participate in the antiracism training that we announced last week and are providing for all franchise owners across our portfolio of brands.
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