Health club members file complaint after fitness trainer’s antisemitic posts

Health club members file complaint after fitness trainer’s antisemitic posts

Members of a well-known north London health club chain have filed a legal complaint against a staff member for antisemitic social media posts. 
The letter, on behalf of more than 30 Jewish and non-Jewish individuals, follows an initial written complaint to Gopal Gautami, general manager of David Lloyd Finchley, the response to which the group found “disappointing.”

Escalating the complaint, they have instructed solicitors Karam, Missick and Traube to address their collective concerns over fitness instructor Ben Lynch, employed at David Lloyd in Finchley.

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Instagram post: Ben Lynch

Lynch used his public Instagram account, ‘notallabouthealth’ which has 350 followers, to post content that the gym members deemed antisemitic and which made them feel deeply uncomfortable.
In the letter seen by Jewish News, the solicitors say that the members “don’t feel safe attending any class” conducted by Lynch, who on the evening of Sunday 10th December made “troubling and offensive remarks about the Holocaust and the actions of Mr. B. Netanyahu. The post not only lacks sensitivity but also exhibits antisemitic sentiments.”

Instagram post by Ben Lynch, employed at David Lloyd, Finchley.

It goes on to say: “Mr Lynch’s post dangerously draws parallels between the number of children killed per day during the Holocaust and the casualties in current conflicts, perpetuating an offensive analogy that minimises the atrocities of the Holocaust. This type of comparison is deeply distressing, particularly for Jewish members at David Lloyd, as it disregards the immense suffering and loss experienced by the Jewish community during one of the darkest chapters in human history.”
The members have also filed a complaint with Community Security Trust (CST) and have the support of educational organisation Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.

Instagram post, Ben Lynch

Solicitors Karam, Missick and Traube have confirmed that Patrick Burrows, chief financial officer and Russell Barnes, chief executive officer at David Lloyd have received their correspondence. They have been told to expect a response within seven working days.
Speaking to Jewish News, Marc Traube, a regular member at David Lloyd Finchley and senior partner at the law firm Karam, Missick and Traube, said that numerous additional club members “have approached me, seeking clarification on the club’s stance and action plan regarding the matter at hand. It appears that awareness of the incident is spreading rapidly among the membership, and many are eager to understand how the club intends to address anti-Semitic remarks, whether active or passive.

Instagram post, Ben Lynch.

“I have been informed by several Jewish members and former acquaintances of Mr. Lynch that individuals belonging to the Jewish faith and also club members were blocked from accessing Mr. Lynch’s Instagram page. This revelation has caused significant distress and sadness among our members. Although I personally do not engage in social media, I was made aware of this issue by two concerned members who brought it to my attention.
“Within a span of 48 hours after the initial disclosure of the incident, more members came forward expressing discomfort with Mr. Lynch’s continued presence in the club. It is crucial to note that Mr. Lynch’s purported justification, claiming that the controversial post was a repost and not an original statement, does not alleviate concerns among the membership. Many find his views unapologetic, especially considering that by reposting content, he is effectively endorsing and adopting those views as his own.”
Traube said it was “imperative that the club takes swift and decisive action in addressing this matter. The reputation and inclusivity of our community are at stake, and members are looking to the leadership for a clear and unambiguous response to uphold the values we hold dear.”
David Lloyd told Jewish News in a statement: “A thorough investigation continues in line with our company processes.”

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