‘I have been branded racist’: PureGym trainer apologises for ‘12 Years of Slave’ workout

‘This is a very hard lesson for me’

On Monday, a post on the Luton and Dunstable PureGym Facebook page introduced a new workout in celebration of Black History Month titled “12 Years of Slave”.

After a swift backlash, the gym removed the post and issued an apology in which they claimed: “This post was wholly unacceptable, was not approved or endorsed by the company and was removed when it was brought to our attention.”

The original creator of the workout, personal trainer Matt Simpson, has now come forward with an Instagram apology that claims there was “absolutely no malice or ill intentions meant by the post.”

“For those who are coming across me this morning for the first time, I am the individual who posted the ’12 Years of Slave’ workout yesterday morning via the PureGym Luton and Dunstable Instagram account.

“I sincerely apologise to all who I offended and angered in any way, shape or form, directly or indirectly. There was absolutely no malice or ill intentions meant by the post. This was a very ill-judged post which I am responsible for. There are no excuses for it. Only a place from which the post came. Which was from a proud black man wanting to bring his history together with his passion and profession. Unfortunately as a result I have been vilified and branded a racist.

“The branding of PureGym as racist couldn’t be further from the truth in my experience. During my time at the company, I have never experienced any racial prejudice and have always been given the tools and support needed. This is a very hard lesson for me and I wholeheartedly apologise to all affected. I am deeply sorry.”

Matt is a qualified massage therapist and personal trainer, who appeared on Channel Five’s “It’s Your Fault I’m Fat” as a personal trainer for obese teenagers trying to lose weight.


PureGym responded when the news broke on Twitter, saying that they are investigating the post: “PureGym apologises unreservedly for a post regarding Black History Month that was made today by our gym in Luton and Dunstable. This post was wholly unacceptable, was not approved or endorsed by the company and was removed when it was brought to our attention.

“We take this matter extremely seriously and are urgently investigating how and why this post was made. Thank you o those people who commented on this post and for raising this with us.”

It is not known if Matt has had any discussion with PureGym or faced any disciplinary action as of yet.

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