The owner of a North Carolina CrossFit gym is being criticized for posting videos of female members’ butts with sexually suggestive captions.
Blue Ridge CrossFit owner Tom Tomlo took videos of several female members as they were bending over during their workouts, later posting them to the gym’s Instagram Story with the captions “Dayum” and “#humpday.”
One member saw the images last Friday and shared them on the gym’s Facebook page in outrage, writing, “This is not okay.” The post and the gym’s Facebook page quickly filled with angry comments and reviews, which prompted Tomlo to respond with an expletive-filled post demonishing people for calling him out publicly.
“It has been brought to my attention that some people chose to get butt hurt today and make a public post in this group,” he wrote. “You must have lost your f—— mind if your one moment you think this is a platform or community for you to create some bulls— like that.”
PEOPLE has reached out to Blue Ridge CrossFit for comment.
Several members said they have since quit after seeing Tomlo’s post, including Dalton Buchanan, who had been a member for three years.
“I know that a lot of people have left at this point. A lot of the coaches have left, because they just don’t want to be associated with that mindset,” Buchanan told WLOS.
Amanda Turlington, who was the lead membership administrator at the gym and one of the women in the videos, says she quit after she and other staff members asked Tomlo to take the videos down. She adds that she was not aware that he was filming them.
“Over half of our team, our staff, had reached out to him. ‘Tom, I don’t feel comfortable with this, it isn’t OK.’ And he wouldn’t hear any of it,” Turlington told WLOS. “He was very defensive.”
In an interview with WLOS, Tomlo says that the videos were misconstrued, and he doesn’t apologize for posting them — but he wishes he had more control over the narrative.
“We do pictures of guys’ butts around here, we have an informal loving family and it’s not a negative thing,” he said. “We were having fun. We were videoing, talking about booties that day.”
“I can’t control the way this is being portrayed, and I’m regretful for it. Someone took offense to it. They took a picture of it and put it in a way, I can see how it would be misunderstood.”
Tomlo told the Citizen Times that the incident has hurt his business.
“We may be shutting this business now because of a false narrative,” he said.
Turlington said that the gym environment was not one that she wanted to be a part of.
“We come to the gym to work out and to be surrounded by people we care about and they care about our success,” Turlington said. “I don’t come to the gym to be sexualized. I don’t come to the gym to have my body on display.”