A pro-life man in Florida says he was kicked out of a Planet Fitness gym not once but twice simply for wearing a pro-life t-shirt. Mike Amoroso says he has a collection of pro-life t-shirts but officials with Planet Fitness told him they were “offensive.”
When someone complained about the shirt, he was told to change his shirt or leave the Planet fitness gym. He came back the next day with a new pro-life shirt and was told again to leave.
“She told me, ‘I am very sorry. We have someone who is not happy with your shirt. Someone is offended by your shirt,’” Amoroso said. “I said, ‘You know, I wear them all the time.’ She said, ‘You’ll have to leave,’ and I left.”
Amoroso believed the issue wasn’t what his shirt said but how the message was delivered. So the following day, he wore a “softer” anti-abortion shirt, which was also deemed too offensive.
“Do you understand why people are offended?” asked reporter Shannon Butler.
“Yes. Yes, I do,” Amoroso said.
But for Amoroso, it’s about freedom of speech. He said he has nothing against women who chose abortion, but one day would like to see an end to abortions. He added that he’s upset the shirts offended someone but said at least it’s starting a conversation about the topic.
“This doesn’t deter you even though people are offended from wearing these?” Butler asked.
“No, I might wear them more,” Amoroso said.
Planet Fitness is disclaiming any responsibility — saying its gyms are independently owned and operated.
“At Planet Fitness, we are committed to providing a comfortable and welcoming environment for everyone. The majority of Planet Fitness clubs, including this location in Orange City, FL, are owned and operated by individual franchisees. The dress code policy is enforced at the discretion of club staff and the local franchisee,” the company said in a statement.
Bryan Kemper, a pro-life activist with Stand True who is known for his extensive collection of pro-life t-shirts, talked with Amoroso.
“I just got off the phone with Michael Amarosa, a 68 year-old man from Deltona, Florida who was recently kicked out of the local Planet Fitness for wearing a pro-life t-shirt to work out in,” he said. “Michael has been going to Planet Fitness for three years and about two weeks ago was approached by one of the staff as he was working out. The staff member informed him that his shirt was offensive to someone and asked if he would be willing to change into a shirt she had in her hand. Michael said no and asked what would happen if he did not change his shirt. He was asked to leave.”
“Now before I go on, lets look at the slogan for Planet Fitness: “Welcome to Planet Fitness. Home of the Judgement Free Zone®”. That’s right, Planet Fitness wants people to think they are a “judgement free zone” while casting judgement on Michael for a pro-life t-shirt,” Kemper continued. “Michael’s shirt read, “abortion kills a person” and he thought that if he wore a less abrasive shirt that maybe they would not cast judgement on him. He was wrong. Michael came back the next day wearing a shirt that read, “pray to end abortion” and he was approached again and asked to leave.”
“Michael told me how he was inspired by Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life who encourages people to be open with their pro-life beliefs. He wants to educate the public about abortion and thats why he wears his pro-life t-shirts. Michael is not yelling at people or trying to start debates in the gym, he simply works out and practices free speech with a t-shirt,” Kemper added. “I encouraged Michael and thanked him for his courage and told him that Stand True will be sending him a bunch of free pro-life t-shirts from our store at prolifeworld.com.”
“I am in the process of contacting pro-life lawyers for Michael to help him fight Planet Fitness and get his rights back. In the mean time I need you help us fight for Michael,” he concluded.
ACTION: Contact Planet Fitness to complain:
The Local Planet Fitness – Phone: 386.490.4416
McCall Gosselin, Director of Public Relations:
Phone: 603-750-0001 x199
Megan Lynch, Public Relations Manager
Phone: 603.750.0001 x225