Despite being “humiliated” by the incident, the man says that he has no intentions of defaming the nationally franchised gym, which touts itself as “The Judgement Free Zone,” but instead hopes to use the story to “raise awareness” of the disorder.
Josh Ertter said he was booted from the Planet Fitness soon after hitting the gym last month for a workout with his fiancé and his brother, Fox 4 first reported.
He said that even though he informed gym staffers that he had Tourette’s soon after entering the facility, Ertter claims that a manager approached him just a few minutes later and requested that he leave, as other patrons reportedly complained that he was “making too much noise.”
“I was humiliated. Everyone has a cross to bear, and [Tourette’s] just happens to be mine,” the man told Fox 4. “This something I cannot control, and trust me I swear if I could stop I would, I don’t enjoy doing this.”
Though Ertter hired a lawyer in preparation for a lawsuit against Planet Fitness, ABC 7 reports, he changed his mind a few weeks later; choosing instead to seize the spotlight and speak out publically regarding the matter.
“I truly want to use this platform as a way to raise awareness for Tourette’s because of the lack of education,” he told Fox 4. “To get kicked out of somewhere and discriminated against for that, that’s just ignorance and intolerance.”
Reps for the gym returned Fox News’ request for comment on the story with the following statement — and apology:
“We sincerely apologize for the unfortunate incident that took place at our North Fort Myers club. In this instance, a staff member enforced a company policy in error. While the staff’s actions were not malicious in their intent, we are working closely with the franchise owner to reeducate the staff on our current policies and protocols,” a spokesperson said. “We have also contacted this guest directly to personally convey our sincerest regrets.”
Moving forward, Ertter plans to personally give a presentation on Tourette’s syndrome awareness to Planet Fitness employees at the Fort Myers gym where was discriminated against, ABC 7 reports.