Gold's Gym Faces Porn-Group Pressure

Stephen Yagielowicz
PROVO – What was originally intended to be a protest by anti-pornography groups against Gold's Gym turned into a thank-you rally after organizers learned of changes the company had made to its entertainment offerings and operations.

The coalition of groups had previously presented Gold's Gym with a petition containing more than 1,000 signatures of gym members and outsiders that did not approve of the company's operations, which have since been modified.

The groups were concerned over what they consider "sexually explicit" music videos and television programming that Gold's Gym plays for the benefit of patrons; and further called for blinds to be put on the aerobic room's window so that other gym users would not have to be exposed to the gyrations of the women's hip-hop class.

"(The gym owners) did this out of their own free will," Aaron Byland, president of a student group, said. "They understand by being decent they are going to get patrons from families. I also think they did it out of the goodness of their own hearts."

Jesse Yaffe, a member of Stand for Decency, said that the groups were exercising their First Amendment rights by reminding people that "silence is acceptance."

"Women who signed the petition actually came up to us and said they would appreciate if Gold's respected their privacy as they are doing their workout because it was attracting a lot of male attention," Yaffe said.

House Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, carrying a sign that read "thank you Golds," used the two-hour rally to seek constituent support for a bill intended to protect minors from online pedophiles.

"It's wonderful because they did it all themselves," Daw said. "All I can do is pat them on the back."

The owners of Gold's Gym were already taking measures to address the issue, however.

"It was a situation where the owners looked into what was playing on the networks and said, 'Hey, we can do a better job reflecting our own values and the values of the community,"' Kirk Livingston, Gold's director of operations, said.

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