On its Facebook page, the El Pueblo, Ortigas branch of Anytime Fitness Philippines expressed support for Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, even sharing photos of its staff handing out baller IDs with his name to patrons and using the hashtags "Bong Go for Senator," "Let's Go Bong Go," and "Ready Set Go."
The post has since been taken down, but not before online furor erupted over the endorsement of the politician.
Anytime Fitness Ortigas shortly issued an apology, part of which read, "Anytime Fitness prides itself on being a place for everyone to get to a healthier place, without any affiliation to politics, religion, and any other issue."
Anytime Fitness Philippines also released its official statement on the matter, acknowledging that "a recent post by one of our clubs has made some members of our valued community unwelcome."
It may be too late, however, as someone pointed out that Facebook ratings for the El Pueblo branch have plummeted, which led to the page disabling the review function. Let this be a lesson to businesses that wish to be involved in unethical methods like premature campaigning.
Ryan Cheal, Country Manager for Anytime Fitness Philippines, reached out to FHM regarding the matter and had this to say:
"We are deeply saddened that this has happened to our Anytime Fitness Philippines community. We worked with Anytime Fitness El Pueblo immediately after the post went live, and came to a mutual agreement that this is not in keeping with the Anytime Fitness brand, which has no affiliation to any platform, political or otherwise. The club is taking responsibility for this lapse in judgement. We are a health and wellness platform and have always advocated for inclusivity, health, and diversity. And as such, should not use our platform for political purposes.
"Anytime Fitness has policies in place to ensure our messaging and communication is unified across all our franchises. As a brand, we do not endorse nor sponsor any affiliation. This issue is currently under review with our internal management.
"We are working with our franchisees and the greater Anytime Fitness network to ensure that this will not happen again. We thank our members for their support and understanding as we move forward and strive to get to a healthier place."