Virgin Active members slam fitness club for 'rude' response over use of CCTV camera
Members of Fitness club unhappy with its response over use of CCTV camera
After a closed-circuit television camera was discovered in a women-only area adjoining the showers and changing room in its Raffles Place outlet, Virgin Active Singapore did not initially apologise to its outraged members.
Instead, the fitness club operator tried to justify its actions in a Facebook post which its detractors slammed as insincere and snarky.
To make matters worse, it then replied to members' complaints with comments such as this: "While we celebrate body positivity just like anyone living in the now times and is morally obligated to stay woke and is part of the me too movement, we trust our members are aware enough to be covered up when moving through the club."
Members said it sounded like Virgin Active was brushing off their worries.
One of them, a 25-year-old marketing executive, told The New Paper: "It's a loss of trust. I feel a bit violated. Honestly, if they had not responded in such a rude way, people would be less upset."
She said she and her friends were shocked and angry because they were told there were no CCTV cameras in the changing rooms when they signed up. "At the very least, they should have reacted better," she added.
Her sentiment was echoed by other users, who felt the gym's attitude was condescending.
Ms Sissy Lau, 35, who works at an oil and chemical tanker firm, said she was very concerned, especially after seeing how Virgin Active had treated the matter so lightly.
She said: "I am genuinely concerned (about the footage being leaked), looking at how they responded and treated the matter so lightly, boasting about positive body image and their latest meme 'stay woke'."
Public relations expert Wong Pei Wen told TNP that Virgin Active, in facing a social media crisis, should have tried to minimise damage by turning it into a dialogue with its members to restore confidence.
"They can start by acknowledging the discomfort of the members, listen to the prevailing sentiments, clarify the issues raised and provide assurances to the members, and update everyone on any improvements after looking into the matter," she said.
She agreed that its initial response came across as self-serving and insincere without acknowledging the members' concerns. Though it changed its tone and clarified further in a later post, the damage had been done.
Virgin Active said in the post: "We will also like to... address and apologise for the lack of sensitivity in our replies... which was unintentional.
"The staff involved have been counselled and will be attending training to be aware of the intrinsic sensitivities our members have."
- ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHEOW SUE-ANN