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Anti-Decency

Blah. rebelle just pointed me to a Denver Post article about the Anti-Gym, a two-location gym whose owner has employed some extreme marketing tactics:

His bright-orange T-shirt says, "NO CHUBBIES" - and Michael Karolchyk means it. He hates chubbies - fat people, lazy people, muffins.

"I'm Polish," he says. "That makes me stubborn and mean. And I'm bald, so I can make fun of chubby people. ... You'll never get a hubby if you're a chubby."

He also throws cupcakes at chubbies at his health club, the Anti-Gym, with a spot downtown and a new one in Cherry Creek.

The gym includes a sauna that restricts people by body fat percentage, a co-ed shower, and lots of other ways to make you feel terrible if you're not buff. Sounds like a great motivator, and telling women they won't get a man unless they're thin is just a great, great message!

In addition:

Today at 5 p.m. there's a staged anti-Anti-Gym demonstration in front of Cold Stone Creamery in Cherry Creek, supposedly organized by the Colorado Over-Weight Society, or COWS. Anti-Gym enthusiasts will stage an Anti-COWS demonstration.

Wow... just... wow. Set aside your anger for a minute, though, and look at that. He's going after NAAFA-like organizations pretty clearly by staging a faux protest. And what's the response from our side? Crickets. That upsets me as much as the faux protest itself.

Debra Dickerson Has a Butt Problem | Dr. Matthew Capehorn: Fat Kids are Abused, Should Be Taken from Parents

AndyJo's picture
AndyJo
June 9th, 2007 | Link | Ok... Help me folks...

Barf!

Ok... Help me folks... Apart from the unbelievable hatred emanating from this character, I really need to understand the sauna and private room issue. I have to wonder -- is this just like a "quasi-legal bathhouse" for straights cleverly disguised as a gym?

Women can only enter if they have a 16% body fat, and men an 11%. Ok... Still men and women together (and presumably with goals other than bodily cleanliness). Co-ed showers....

Many in our community are wary of gyms (especially co-ed ones) because of the "meat market" aspects of the places... That is -- some go to singles bars, others go to gyms. This takes the "meat market" concept to an entirely new level (and a disgusting one at that).

My mind boggles.

--Andy Jo--

jportnick's picture
jportnick
June 9th, 2007 | Link | what's the appeal here?

Visiting this place sounds like a pretty gawdawful experience, to tell you the truth. I have to wonder who is attracted to this kind of advertising. Is it people who feel like they are nothing, and they think this place can make them into something? Also, the "no diet" assurance along with the meal plan prescription doesn't make much sense to me.

And if this Michael person is so hot, why isn't his picture the first thing you see when you go to the website? I couldn't even find him under Google Image search. Maybe he's too busy having sex with the lights on to have his picture taken.

nancylebov June 9th, 2007 | Link | Karolchyk might be an

Karolchyk might be an example of roid rage, or possibly amphetamines. In any case, it's kind of nice to have fat-haters tempted to leave the other gyms and rather pleasing to me to think that they're increasing their odds of sports injuries by going to a hatred-driven gym.

Kunoichi June 9th, 2007 | Link | "I'm Polish," he says. "That

"I'm Polish," he says. "That makes me stubborn and mean.

Well, I'm Polish, too - and this guy is an embarrassment to my culture!

This whole thing is just bizarre! That "Ravish Room" has all sorts of alarm bells going off for me.

Meowzer June 9th, 2007 | Link | Please excuse me for mixing

Please excuse me for mixing metaphors, Paul, but do you think Martin Luther King bothered with protesting every stupid-ass minstrel show in the South? Because that's what this is, it's a stupid-ass minstrel show. People are dying from gastric bypass surgery by the thousands, psychiatrists are trying to get "obesity" identified as a mental illness in the DSM, where it could literally ruin the lives of every single one of us, and all children with an inch to pinch are having bulls-eyes painted on their foreheads by school boards and state governments all over the country. That's where SA activists are focusing first, and rightly so.

This guy? He's annoying, and undoubtedly a publicity slut, but I don't think he's changing anyone's mind or ruining anyone's Q of L in any material way. "Colorado Over-Weight Society"? Geesh, he must have had that one in his notebook since fourth grade. Why give him any more attention than he deserves, which is zero? Besides, what makes you so sure NAAFA hasn't spoken up? It's not like the MSM has been panting to hear what activists have to say whenever someone like this opens up his/her Venus flytrap about the fatties, after all.

paul June 10th, 2007 | Link | Good points.

Good points, Meowzer.

I understand the inclination to give these people (including one Ms. Roth) no attention at all, I really do. But that needs to be balanced out with the fact that they're getting media attention - not just some Joe or Jane linking to them on their blog, Random Musings.

The Denver Post felt that this guy's business was newsworthy. What made them do it? Crazy-ass tactics that are designed to offend, sure. But there's zero balance in this article. It's all "Here's a free ad for this guy, and we won't include any response from anyone who might really be offended by this." No plan to bring forth a real discussion, looking into why this type of business can thrive today. None of that.

...That's where SA activists are focusing first, and rightly so.

No offense intended but, I don't see much of that. I really don't. I hear about it happening but I don't see much action and, frankly, that is important.

Besides, what makes you so sure NAAFA hasn't spoken up?

From the Rocky Mountain NAAFA website: "RMNAAFA seemed to spring back to life in the summer of 2006." From NAAFA's site: "NAAFA Press Release - March 19, 2007". If NAAFA has spoken up, it isn't on the web, and it isn't in any searchable news index I can see on the web. If they have, that's good! That's great, in fact, and I want to hear about it! But it's not apparently out there in any way.

And if the MSM isn't interested in talking with NAAFA, crap, at least put something out on the web. Please!

rebelle June 9th, 2007 | Link | I agree that though this

I agree that though this man's tactics are offensive, he is fundamentally silly and ultimately, immature. And I think hate mail just encourages his ilk. I couldn't tell from the column, but it seemed the "chubbies" at his club whom he was pelting with cupcakes had signed up for the treatement, thereby proving that fools and their money really are soon parted. I'm not saying whether we should respond to this sort of dude or not.
But there is no way his tactics are about health. I mean, c'mon. 11 percent body fat? That's dangerous. And at least our bigoted society--for now--tends to look askance at extreme examples of abuse--he's the "most hated man in Denver." (And, as said, a big enough publicity slut to revel in that designation).
And, about whether he's "hot"? The print edition had a picture of him. So very NOT hot.
I don't want to send 'im hate mail. I want to send him a T-shirt: "What makes you think fat chicks want YOU?"

onceupon's picture
onceupon
June 9th, 2007 | Link | Minstrel shows and protests

You know what? Paul, I agree with you. The lack of response from any sort of fat acceptance group is AMAZINGLY telling.

Meowzer, usually I am so down with what you say, but I don't see the activists protesting gastric bypass surgery either. I don't see them protesting BMI report cards, I don't see them protesting anything.

The size acceptance community is, for some reason, incredibly silent. Sometimes I wonder if it is because protesting, actually protesting - not writing emails, not blogging - is a highly visible thing that is sure to invite a LOT of negative commentary.

And I know, based on some earlier discussions, that people believe fat activism just isn't being covered in the news, but if a large group of fatties banded together and actually staged a protest in front of the Anti-Gym? That would get some coverage.

And the protesters would get pelted with cupcakes, I'm sure. It would be pretty horrible to be that exposed to that much fat hatred. I think that's the sort of thing we need to be prepared to deal with, though. Letting this sort of thing go unremarked upon.... Silence does not necessarily imply consent but I don't think we have to limit ourselves to the BIG causes to get out point across.

squurp June 9th, 2007 | Link | However,

Picking the battles that can be won and that are worth winning are keys to any victory. This shenanigan of a gym or anit-gym or whatever it is will tear itself apart without any help from the size acceptance community. And, getting involved in the fray will do no one any good. If you roll with pigs, you only get dirty. It is best to bide our time - all of us, on this one. As far as advocating on weight loss surgery, again, the battle is coming our way as we speak. Recent research has pointed to a genetic link in obesity. In fact, research on rats has supported the evidence of a 12-15 gene matrix that controls obesity. There are always social stigmas and ethical issues that hold science back, but in the long run, research wins. And, research will show exactly how misguided WLS is. I am sure in time, we'll compare it to the bloodletting of the middle ages. In the meantime, work with your friends and family - show them the research they need to see, especially if they are considering weight loss surgery. That is where our advocacy efforts are best focused right now.

wriggle99 June 9th, 2007 | Link | Another desparate attention seeker.....

I agree why waste time with the likes of him?

They love it when we get angry and stirred up, what they can't stand is our indifference. He (and MeMe) actually quote the opposition/attention they receive. We already respond way too much, allowing our enemies to set the agenda.

Remember, they are the ones troubling us, not the other way round, we've got better things to do than build our identities around hate. Eye-wink

diane June 9th, 2007 | Link | I'm with AndyJo on this...

I'm with AndyJo on this... it soo sounds like a bathhouse! ...a really secure bathhouse. A "special" room that only "certain" people can know the combo to get in? A ravish room, co-ed showers (there's a sexual harrassment/assault case waiting to happen). I think this guy couldn't score in the men's steam room at Jack LaLanes and so he's gonna open his own gym. And he's found the perfect gimick to get publicity. I've said it before--hate sells! I'm for ignoring him, he's just a wanker. And if he's running around naked, even without light, I think there should be a small craft advisory warning!

jportnick's picture
jportnick
June 9th, 2007 | Link | You know, if there were an

You know, if there were an anti-fat discrimination law in Denver the way there is in San Francisco, he would be much less likely to get away with keeping people out of his Ravish Rooms because of their fat percentage. And the law in SF got passed because people got mad, really mad, about a 24 hour Fitness bill board which said, "When they come, they'll eat the fat ones first." People got so mad they had a protest in front of City Hall, which Marilyn Wann lead. And that's how the law got to be conceived and then passed.

Anariel June 9th, 2007 | Link | You know, if I hadn't seen

You know, if I hadn't seen the link at the beginning of this post, I'd have thought that this was from "The Onion". It's certainly silly enough. Really, though, I'd pity the guy if I thought it were worth the effort. He must really feel inferior if he feels the need to target other people for this amount of ridicule.

Whatever else he might be attempting to compensate for, he's certainly suffering from a small mind.

Mandark June 9th, 2007 | Link | It figures, in that neighborhood

I used to live just down the road from where the gym is. It may be telling that it is just next to an incredibly snobby shopping area, often full of the most unbelievably snotty, holier-than-thou, vanity-obsessed people. It is also quite close to Cheesman Park, a well-known pickup spot for male prostitutes.

Not that it makes any difference, really, but I'm rather beyond chubby and about to get married, and we ALWAYS have sex with the lights on...

I think that protesting against this sort of thing via mass demonstration is probably a waste of time. It only fuels the bullies. However, complaints to local government about the discriminatory nature of the place, as well as its abusive advertising, are probably in order.

Jon_B's picture
Jon_B
June 9th, 2007 | Link | Well if I lived there, I

Well if I lived there, I would purposely get my body fat down to 11% (I'm already close at a modest 13%), get in one of Marital Arts outfits, carry around one of my weapons and protest against it so I can be the "Skinny one that got away." Sticking out tongue
No seriously... I'm new the world of Size Activism (Though I'm not to Size Acceptance/Equality), so I can't say whether or not this would be a just battle. I can agree that in some ways the movement isn't making as much headway as I would hope it to have made. That doesn't stop me from fighting, however.

Kate_P June 9th, 2007 | Link | Take a look at their myspace

Take a look at their myspace page:

This is definitely about sex.

What's most disturbing is they claim to have "overweight children" as clients.

honeybuny June 12th, 2007 | Link | YES!

you are right on. this is a swingers club if i ever saw one! since i'm in the "lifestyle" i recognize the same language that all swingers/swingers resorts and clubs use. it's pretty ridiculous that he's trying to convince people he's owner of a health club when he's really just an owner of a glorified brothel. Puzzled

Limor477's picture
Limor477
June 9th, 2007 | Link | I think I just threw up a

I think I just threw up a little. I highly doubt that there are any "60 year old grandmas'" working out at this "gym", and I certainly hope that there aren't any parents who are depraved enough to take theit kids to this place. I am offended on so many levels. I'm Polish, but I guess I missed the memo about having to be an ass. The fact that both the myspace page, and his "gym" site are so laden with blatant sexual images, and references, makes it sound more like a swingers club than a gym. I guess sex does burn off a lot of calories. As to this BS about having sex with the lights on...I'm still cracking up. He probably does it Christian Bale style from American Psycho.

Meowzer June 10th, 2007 | Link | Meowzer, usually I am so

Meowzer, usually I am so down with what you say, but I don't see the activists protesting gastric bypass surgery either. I don't see them protesting BMI report cards, I don't see them protesting anything.

They may not be gathering en masse to throw eggs at people, but there is work being done, letters being written, WLS seminars being infiltrated by moles, and so forth. There are many different ways to protest. If you read the Fat Studies list on Yahoo, you'll find plenty of current examples.

I just don't think this particular asshat is especially worth it when there are far bigger fish to fry. When 24-Hour Fitness had a giant billboard up all over the country about "eating the fat ones first," which is what led to the SF protest that jportnick describes, that had a much more far-reaching effect than just one lone cupcake-tossing attention-junkie twerp in a single gym in Denver, who by all indications isn't taken very seriously by anyone.

But if you disagree, by all means fly to Denver and fling away. I certainly won't complain if anyone wants to stain him with foodstuffs (or the fetid byproducts thereof).

DeeLeigh's picture
DeeLeigh
June 10th, 2007 | Link | The first thing that would

The first thing that would occur to most people, reading about this, is that it's unusually blatant discrimination and should be protested. After all, the civil rights movement would have protested an establishment that separated people by race.

But, this is really something different. It's an attempt at free marketing, and an attempt to create an exclusive space for an especially smug, vain, and self righteous group of people. I sincerely hope that no fat person would have the complete lack of self respect necessary to patronize the place. I'm sure that these people aren't planning to "help" anyone. They want to make sure that people who don't look exactly like them stay away from their gym, or (even better) to recruit a few masochistic fat people to act as punching bags and boost their egos even further.

There's no point in trying to make them aware of the error of their ways. They're obviously proud to be assholes. If someone wanted to fight this, the best way to do it would be to get a copy of their membership list and get it published in the local newspaper. Leave them to their sick little club, and let their reputations in the real world suffer. Hold each individual accountable to their families, friends and colleagues.

And "ravish room?" How sleazy is that? Really, it's kind of funny. Someone mentioned the Onion, and yeah, it's hard to believe this is for real.

Meowzer June 10th, 2007 | Link | I think it's only a matter

I think it's only a matter of time before someone sues his pathetic ass out of existence, really. If he actually does exist, that is -- has anyone even confirmed that the gym in question is real? But if it is, that's the only kind of "protest" that's going to have any impact here, because this rumpbozo has made it obvious that he wants the publicity that would come with a giant public protest. It means more money for him. The only part of his body where he feels anything is his wallet, and that's where he needs to be hurt. Unlike a wealthy giant corp like 24-Hour Fitness, he can be sued out of business -- 24HF's admission and operating policies weren't discriminatory, just its advertising, and the last thing they wanted was a huge public row about it.

Wanderer's picture
Wanderer
September 28th, 2007 | Link | Research

Well, the Anti-Gym is real enough to have its own website, and to have since shown up on the Daily Show. (Linked from the website to http://www.theantigym.com/video/FoxNews8-10-07.html ) He's there, big as life and twice as bald (rim shot), and still wearing his "No Chubbies" shirt.

Oh, and it gets better. Seems the Anti-Gym is holding a spokesmodel contest. the name of the contest?

"American Chubby"

Oh, and he's well aware of people who think he's being offensive. Check out his listing of "warning signs" for what he calls "Bearded Ladies":

http://www.theantigym.com/beardedlady.html

Notice that being offended by his ads and attitude comes in at #9, and writing his sponsors about it at #10. This after "hate men" (#4), "are lazy" (#5) and "emotionally immature" (which shares the #9 slot, because being offended by this loudmouth means you're emotionally immature... yeesh, this guy makes Susan Powter look like the Good Witch of the North).

Oh, and what sponsors he has, too! The Tryst Lounge, The Sutra Room... and three restaurants. Chama Lounge, Mezcal, and Tula. Pardon me while I kill the Snoop Dogg "Gin and Juice" on that page...

Tryst: A dark bar, but supposedly romantic.

Sutra: (rolls eyes) Noisy bar with swingers.

Chama: Restaurant and tequila bar.

Mezcal: Restaurant and tequila bar with its own MySpace page.

Tula: Pretentious restaurant and tequila bar. "Latin Bistro" sounds so much better than "Mexican restaurant", y'know.

Oh, and the Anti-Gym has a signature cocktail. Jim Beam and Absolut.

Any votes to call it "Absolut Nonsense"? In any event, it's because FutureBrands LLC is another sponsor. (They own both brand names in the U.S.)

In short: He's aimed at young, skinny people who are ego-driven enough to need a special place to laugh at fat people while they look for someone to shtupp.

Yours truly,

The fact-finding,

Wanderer

P.S.: He's also one of the people behind Colorado's bill to enforce "parental responsibility" for overweight children. If you're on his website, the press release is easy enough to find.

sabrina's picture
sabrina
June 12th, 2007 | Link | anti-gym

I love his justifications for being bigoted. He's Polish and bald? Well, I can remember when Polish people were made fun of a LOT, people of all the ethnicities thought nothing of telling polack jokes...sounds to me like he's deflecting. Both COWS and anti-fat sound like a bunch of dorks with nothing better to do...

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