MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18/WBON) — A women's gym in Richmond is under fire after employees there apparently denied access to a woman because she couldn't speak English. A viral Facebook post describing the incident has prompted a change of policy at the gym.
Roberto Monraga took to Facebook on Tuesday to speak out against the treatment he said his mother and her friend were subjected to last week. He said that his mother was translating for her friend, who wanted to join the gym, but Monraga said that an employee interjected and said if she couldn't speak English, she couldn't be a member of the gym. He said that the employee told them she would need to take English lessons before returning.
The backlash online and in the community was swift.
In an interview with WBON, the owner of the christian all-women's gym stood by the employee's actions, insisting it's gym policy that members speak a minimum amount of English for safety reasons.
"We have rules, and we have to enforce the rules. We can't change the rules from day to day, and so those rules have been in place from day to day," said owner Carolyn Tudor.
The rules can change though, because later in the day, Tudor said the gym was updating their policy and speaking English will no longer be a requirement.
"I apologize for the gym, I apologize for me that we've caused all this heartache and hard feelings, and I'm just very, very sorry," she said.
To some Richmond residents, the apology rings hollow.
"What's done is done. Why come back now and say you're sorry when you've already discriminated against them?" Richmond resident Angie Kingery.
The Richmond Human Rights Commission responded to the claims of discrimination, vowing to investigate the matter.