A fitness company in the U.K. recently came under fire for an advertisement they posted outside of a school, and the owner wasn’t too happy about it.
Skinnypigs Fitness placed a banner outside of a school announcing the more than “100 classes” they offer. The ad features two figures, one heavier and another with a much slimmer silhouette, complete with an arrow pointing from the heavier one to the slimmer one. Next to the images is a bold yellow “CAUTION: Skinnypigs will make you look better naked.”
On Twitter, people took issue with both the message and the location.
Heather Peacock tweeted, "What element of totally inappropriate shall we say about this SkinnypigsUK?? Put up outside a school?! Come on!!"
Sarah Davy wrote, "That's so shocking in so many ways. Negative body image, inappropriate location & a truly awful company name."
Still another Twitter user accused Skinnypigs of "purporting outdated and dangerous gender stereotypes.”
Skinnypigs owner, Jonathan Hair, was not on board with the attacks his business was receiving, and went on the defensive, resulting in a heated back-and-forth on the social media site.
Hair tweeted from the Skinnypigs handle, “You don't even realise that modern feminism is so polluted with self loathing, man hating looms. We have equality now, it's a good thing. While we are giving advice, stop being a feminazi, you are in the wrong side of history. You'll see when you're all growed up."
Hair even directly attacked one of his critics, saying, "Thanks for the input, you'd look far less stupid if you looked into what Skinnypigs is and has achieved if you did a little research."
In another he added: "Oooo a feminazi eh, I should have known with the glasses."
He told another critic: "Just another whiny feminazi who will end up bitter and alone with house full of cats (but thinks she can change the world by complaining)."
His responses fueled his opponents’ fire, and many launched more attacks about the perceived fat-shaming sign, and vowed to no longer give business to Skinnypigs.
The Twitter storm swelled to include Skinnypigs die-hards, who came to their favorite fitness center's aid by sharing their own weight-loss success stories.
One Twitter user said, "Getting ready for Skinnypigs, a place [where] we support, encourage and empower each other."
Hair spoke to Mirror Online and defended his responses, saying he had “nothing to be sorry for.”
"It is open season on me at the moment," he said. "To be honest I wish I just ignored it.
"I'm quite worried, I employ 50 people, 48 are women, they are ringing me crying thinking they might not have jobs,” he said. "The people attacking us have no empathy. They don't realize there are real world repercussions, this is people's livelihood."
He continued, saying, "All the hate I was getting, people calling me sexist. I just replied that, over the last seven years, I have helped over 100 women feel better in their own skins, what have you done? I felt like my back was against the wall. It was an online lynch mob. People were just throwing out adjectives.”
Hair did say, however, that his words weren’t as harsh as the attacks on him.
"Everything I said was tongue-in-cheek and I got a lot worse than what I gave by a country mile."