TROY, Mo. (CBS Local) — A Missouri man says he was told his shirt supporting President Donald Trump made people “uncomfortable” and was asked not to wear it to the gym anymore. Jake Talbot says he had worn the shirt that reads “2016 Trump for President” many times before at CDY Fitness in Troy. But on Sunday, the owner asked him not to wear it again, saying the shirt was offensive to her and others at the gym.
“I was just puzzled there for a second. She said that it was racist and represents racism and that’s when I when I was like ‘Oh, you’re done,'” Talbot told CBS affiliate KMOV.
Talbot, a U.S. Army veteran, says he finished his workout and then vented his frustrations to Facebook.
“The owner Liz came up to me and said that Trump shirt I had on was offensive and said I needed to remove it in order to work out there, and that it is linked to racism. I hate the word, its used way too loosely. It’s 2019, get the hell over it, it’s not racism,” Talbot said.
The gym’s owner, Liz Drew, disputed Talbot’s claim that she told him to remove the shirt.
“I said, ‘Jake, we’re friends and I love you, but I’d appreciate it if you didn’t wear that shirt in the future,'” Drew told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Drew said the shirt made several members at the gym uncomfortable, including African-American and Hispanic members.
“I am deeply saddened by the amount of hate this event has garnered. I will personally and publicly continue to defend my stance for tolerance and against hate no matter the financial consequence,” she wrote on the gym’s Facebook page. “I don’t believe our gym should be a political forum for anyone. I want everyone to feel safe and comfortable there.”
Drew said she deleted the gym’s Facebook account after receiving thousands of hateful messages, including threats to burn down her gym.
Talbot says he won’t be going back to CDY Fitness and another nearby gym has offered him a year membership for free.