Gym owner gets death threats for vulgar 'no cops' sign
An Atlanta gym owner who posted a sign on his front door reading, "Rules: Do whatever the hell you want, correctly, except Crossfit cultism. No f------ cops" has been receiving death threats since a local Atlanta TV stations ran the story on Tuesday.
The owner of the gym, Jim Chambers, also refuses membership to active-duty military personnel.
His reasons for denying membership to the police and military? It might make his minority members "uncomfortable."
Jim Chambers said the rule had been in place since early 2016 when he opened the East Atlanta Barbell Club in Georgia's capital. The club advertises itself as "a radically aligned, left-friendly gym and community."
Chambers said he has many members who are gay, lesbian and transgender, or belong to racial minority groups, some of whom said they had been harassed by police officers.
"We know statistically that those people are at risk around police in America," Chambers said in a telephone interview. "I had members who joined because of the policy: they saw it on the door and thought, 'Oh, that's cool,' and joined."
For the record, Chambers says he has about 30 members – some of whom, apparently, don't pay for the privilege of working out at his gym, but are granted access to the facilities in exchange for voluntary work there.
Chambers referred to the high-profile police killings of unarmed civilians in recent years as a reason for the policy. He did not mention the half-dozen police officers killed in retaliation.
The policy had drawn little attention, Chambers said, besides from one officer who tried to join and became "rude" upon being told the reason he could not.
But Chambers pasted a strongly worded version of the policy, including an expletive, to the door a couple of weeks ago. That prompted a man to contact WXIA-TV, a local news channel, to say he was offended as a military veteran. WXIA did not name the veteran.
Since the channel's report aired on Tuesday, Chambers said he had received a threatening email or call every minute or so.
The Atlanta Police Department did not respond to a request for comment, but was quoted by WXIA as saying its officers would nonetheless respond to an emergency at the gym.
Chambers, who grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and describes himself politically as "somewhere between an eco-anarchist and a Marxist-Leninist," said he would not call the police in any circumstances. He also disapproved of U.S. military interventions abroad.
An "eco-anarchist"? Is there any room at all politically between that and a "Marxist-Leninist"? The guy is so far left that he's fallen off the ideology meter.
Former police officers and military veterans were generally welcome to join, he said, adding that they were no longer in a position to use force against people on behalf of the government.
Chambers is not only stupid, but insane. I wonder if any former cops or soldiers have taken him up on his "offer."
As an aside to this story, once it went viral across the country, people began calling to express their outrage. Except they were calling the wrong gym.
In Google, when you look for "East Atlanta Gym," the first listing that pops up is "Village Fitness" – not "EAV Barbell Club."
Village Fitness has been in the East Atlanta Village community for much longer. They have received calls and people walking in, asking them about the "no cop" sign since hearing about the story on Tuesday.
"I'm like, wait a second – that's definitely not us," said Tara Perry of Village Fitness. "We do not feel that way."
Village Fitness is around the corner from EAV Barbell Club, but their policies couldn't be more different. While EAV Barbell Club wants no cops on their premises, Village Fitness welcomes them.
To make their message even more clear, Village Fitness put out a sign on Wednesday – in front of the building for gym members and passersby to see.
It says "We Support Police and Our Military."
As for the legality of denying service to cops and soldiers, there's nothing in the law against it. But just because something is legal doesn't make it right. Chambers has either developed a questionable marketing strategy to get the name of his business out to the public or is just one more insane leftist who believes his own talking points.