Woman complains about gym harasser – response blames man's 'testosterone levels'

A woman was appalled after complaining to her gym about a male harasser, only to be told that his aggressive behaviour could be excused because of his ‘testosterone levels’.

Elena Bunbury tweeted about her experience, saying that on her first visit to the Gymbox branch in Stratford, she was angrily confronted by a man who implied that she was taking too long to do her sets and not working hard enough.

After laughing about Elena and her friend for being too slow, Elena asked her friend what his problem was. The man heard her and turned on the pair of them aggressively.

‘To which he responded with whilst glaring at us, “if you’re laughing and smiling while you’re doing legs, you’re not doing legs. Pathetic,”‘ she wrote in her complaint in the original email.

‘He then proceeded to throw weights on the floor dramatically and huff and puff while staring at us and linger around us around the gym,’ she continued.

But, to her dismay, she received an unsatisfactory response from a member of staff at the Gymbox.

‘It is unfortunate that you had such an experience in our gym,’ read the email.

A study last year found that 71% of women are being harassed at the gym on a regular basis – and if staff aren’t equipped to acknowledge and respond to allegations, this is unlikely to improve.

Unsurprisingly, Elena was not happy with that response and sent a follow-up email.

‘Your response has done nothing but make me even less inclined to come back,’ she wrote. ‘Your personal view is really concerning.

‘The fact you are justifying the behaviour based on testosterone is giving men an out for all inappropriate and aggressive behaviour.

‘It is not up to you to excuse men’s poor behaviour, or to work around it. It’s up to men to be held accountable for their actions.’

Elena’s tweet about the email exchange has now received hundreds of comments with (mostly) women condemning the gym’s response and sharing their own stories of harassment.

Next time I’m about to lose my temper I must remember it’s fine because of my testosterone levels, instead of realising I need to calm down because otherwise I might become a complete d*ck,’ added a male Twitter user.

‘Thanks for the ridiculous and damaging stereotyping @GYMBOXofficial.’

We reached out to Gymbox for their response on the matter and a spokesperson said they were taking the complaint very seriously and will be speaking to the member of staff.

‘We expect all members and guests to conduct themselves in a respectful manner and we will fully investigate this incident,’ said a spokesperson.

‘We have also addressed with our team member involved her response to the complaint and we will be retraining all our team members on how they handle a situation like this should it occur again.’

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