Reporting Mike Campbell
TAYLOR (WWJ) - Some Downriver men are furious after their gym made the switch to women-only.
A protest was held Tuesday morning outside the Taylor Fitness USA Supercenter that, until recently, was open to men and women on alternating days.
Demonstrators carried signs that read, “Fraud,” and “Gender bias.”
At one point, Taylor police arrived to keep the peace.
Donald Schoenberger told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Mike Campbell he nearly got arrested when he tried to enter the club on Pardee Road, near Southland Mall.
“I got yanked out, handcuffed, cut, insulted, embarrassed,” Schoenberger said.
“[I'm a] Vietnam veteran 68, 69, 70 — and I won’t have this; I won’t tolerate it. I’ll go to jail, but I won’t have somebody that I fought for … I fought for her, too, and she laughed in my face,” he said
A memo from the fitness chain states that many men who worked out in Taylor have enrolled at the Lincoln Park facility, but anyone with extenuating circumstances should contact Fitness USA which will handle them on a case-by-case basis.
The Lincoln Park facility, one of three Wayne County Fitness USA locations, is the only one still open to men.
The switch is for “business reasons,” according to the memo.
Gym patron John Neifert is among those demanding a refund.
“I signed up in January for $851. I can’t go to Lincoln Park because I’m on dialysis and the days they have us go there I’m on treatment — I can’t do the stairs,” he said. “I’m just asking for $750 back.”
Thomas Haener, who gets around on crutches, said the Lincoln Park facility won’t work for him, either.
“I have cerebral palsy… [working out] helps me keep my legs loose,” Haener said. “They have stairs at that gym, and I’d have trouble negotiating the stairs.”
Haener, a Trenton resident, said he relies on bus service which won’t take him to the Lincoln Park location.
He’s written a letter to Fitness USA asking for special consideration.