A PUREGYM trainer has apologised for a "very ill judged" post which promoted a workout by boasting "slavery is hard and so is this".
Matt Simpson said there were "no excuses" for his post, which used the forced trafficking of millions of Africans to promote a routine named ‘12 Years Of Slave’.
He posted the routine on PureGym's Luton and Dunstable social media pages yesterday morning, where it was slammed by users for 'extreme bad taste'.
The Assistant Gym Manager has since apologised for the insensitive post, insisting he has learned a "very hard lesson".
Mr Simpson described himself as a "proud black man" and said he had been trying to "bring his history together with his profession" with the post.
He said it was "unfortunate" that he had been "vilified and branded racist".
Mr Simpson wrote on Instagram: “For those who are coming across me this morning for the first time I am the individual who posted the “12 years of slave” workout yesterday morning via the PureGym Luton and Dunstable Instagram account.
“I sincerely apologise to all whom I offended and angered in any way, shape or form, directly or indirectly. There was absolutely no malice or ill intentions meant by the post. This was a very ill judged post which I am responsible for.
“There were no excuses for it. Only a place from which the post came. Which was from a proud black man wanting to bring his history together with his passion and profession. Unfortunately as a result have been vilified and branded racist."
He added: “The branding of PurGym as racist couldn’t be further from the truth in my experience. During my time at the company I have never experienced any racial prejudice and have always been given the tools and support needed.
“This is a very hard lesson for me and whole heartedly apologise to all effected. I am deeply sorry."
'INSENSITIVE ON ALL LEVELS'
The workout, which featured 12 different exercises including box jumps, burpees and push ups, was taken down from the gym's Facebook page yesterday afternoon.
The post read: "Entitled '12 years of Slave' (after the epic movie) this is our workout of the month designed by @mattsimpt to celebrate black history month.
"Slavery was hard and so is this. The twist to this is one rep of your first exercise, two of the second but before you move on to the third exercise which is also three reps you mist start at the beginning to move on."
Users were left horrified by the post, urging the gym to take it down immediately.
One person commented: "Wow, just wow. I'm gobsmacked that someone thought this was okay to post Pure Gym hope you've seen and are taking appropriate action against this."
Another wrote: "I don't even know where to start on this one. Wrong, insensitive and horrendous on all levels. You have no idea what Black History Month actually represents. You should be ashamed."
Another added: "Have you lost your mind? This is disrespectful and insensitive."
PureGym apologised for the post, explaining their gym's social media pages are run locally.
A spokesperson for PureGym told The Sun Online on Monday: “PureGym apologises unreservedly for a post made today by our gym in Luton.
"This post is wholly unacceptable, was not approved or endorsed by the company and was removed as soon as it was brought to our attention. Each of our 271 gyms has its own social media channels which are run locally.
"We take this matter extremely seriously and are urgently investigating how and why this post was made.”
Matt Simpson had previously defended the post on Twitter.
Responding to someone who had called it an "interesting approach to Black History Month," he wrote: "What's so interesting about it?
"I've merely taken the name of an Oscar winning film and given it to a workout having the number of exercise coincide with the number in the title."
Black History Month takes place every October to commemorate the history and achievements of the black community.
From around the year 1500, millions of African people were taken into slavery and transported across the Atlantic to provide cheap labour for the colonies in America and the West Indies.
Up to a third of African people captured as slaves, died on the journey.
Another third died on the plantations within a few months of arriving, because of new tropical diseases. Others died from sheer hard work.
Slaves were regarded as the property of their white owners and had no rights. The way they were treated was appalling.
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