A Mexican family was kicked out of a pool at a North Carolina gym for playing Spanish music in a TikTok video that has gone viral on social media.
The incident of apparent racial discrimination took place at the Flex Fitness and Recreation Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina on Monday afternoon. The video, which has garnered more than 7 million views on the platform, was originally posted on TikTok by Bianca Figueroa (@esposatoxica) and showed the family sitting next to the pool interacting with a police officer nearby.
Gym Owner Allegedly Disconnected the Speaker, Tried to Take it with Her
A woman in red and the officer then start exchanging words in Spanish. According to a translation of the conversation, shown in the overlay, she tells the officer, "It hurts me to see the inequality and racism. I will explain to you what happened, and we will leave because I understand your job; you're an employee."
"She's had music in English, and she says nothing," she said, a likely reference to other guests in the pool. "But we had Spanish music, and she came with a bad attitude and disconnected our speaker and tried to take it with her."
She said one of the white women at the pool had complained about the music. "You know why she called you? Because I told [the owner] 'you're not a businesswoman. You're not intellectual because we are paying customers,'" the woman in red continued. "She should've come to us like you did, and said 'please turn off your music.' But no, she came with an attitude and forcibly disconnected our speakers."
The woman then tells the cop that they plan to take legal action and were leaving out of respect for the officer. Figueroa adds her two cents to the clip towards the end, noting that the gym owner made "zero efforts" to communicate with the women, who don't speak English and then called the cops on them. The police then asked the family to vacate the premises.
Watch the video below:
Owner Claimed the Women Were 'Drunk' and 'Cussing Everyone Out'
In a follow-up video, Figueroa said the owner of Flex Fitness and her two daughters started "bashing" the Mexican family and anyone who defended them after the video went viral, claiming that the women were "drunk" and "cussing everyone out."
One of the family members, Veronica Ramirez, who rents a room in the gym facility for her Zumba class, was served an eviction notice on Tuesday, the day after the incident took place. According to a GoFundMe set up for Ramirez, the single mother-of-two has started losing customers "due to the flex gym locking their door and not allowing for anyone to come in to use the restroom."
Flex Fitness Down to 1-Star on Yelp
Shortly after the incident went viral, Flex Fitness got review-bombed on Yelp, lowering its rating to 1-star. "Racist facility! This place and the owner are a disgrace. The person 'managing' this place discriminated against Mexican people or anyone that speaks Spanish," wrote one user.
"Racist establishment. Do not give them your money they only care about their white customers. Owner who has no respect for Hispanic people. Don't recommend ever stepping foot in that fitness center," commented another.
The sudden influx of negative reviews and increased media attention forced the website to temporarily suspend review submissions on page.