LIBERTY ALERTS, LIBERTY COUNSEL
LEESBURG, FL – Planet Fitness Leesburg has violated Florida law and its own policy by allowing a man to sexually harass females in the women’s locker room but then terminated a woman’s membership because she objected. Liberty Counsel represents “Mrs. H.” and has demanded that Planet Fitness immediately reinstate her membership and make changes to its membership and locker room policies to prevent blatant sex-based harassment by males in the women’s facilities.
“Mrs. H.” is a survivor of a violent rape attempt. On May 29, 2018, staff at the Leesburg location revoked “Mrs. H.’s” membership after she was intimidated by and complained about the behavior of Jordan Rice in the women’s locker room. Rice claims to be “transgender,” but is obviously a man and his behavior indicates he derives enjoyment from depriving women of privacy.
Rice, dressed in gray sweatpants and a tank top, was standing in the women’s locker room, facing the mirror and pretending to apply makeup. “Mrs. H.” needed to use the restroom and politely asked him to leave. Instead, Rice smirked and watched her in the mirror where he had a full view of every woman entering or exiting the shower and locker area. Rice remained there for at least an hour to intentionally deny “Mrs. H.” the privacy she desired. The Planet Fitness staff permitted Rice to monopolize the women’s locker room and impede “Mrs. H.’s” rightful use of it.
Rice then called 911 (listen here), as he chased “Mrs. H” in the parking lot, to complain that he had been “sexually harassed” because she asked him to leave the women’s locker room.
Rice has been involved in other incidents with women at this location. One woman reported that he exposed his naked body in the women’s locker room. He was also involved in an argument with another woman over use of the tanning room.
The Florida Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on religion and biological “sex” in places of public accommodation. The Act guarantees full and equal enjoyment of “the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation” to all persons without discrimination.
“Planet Fitness is endangering women by allowing men to sexually harass them in the women’s facilities and punishing those who object,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “This is discrimination based on sex, in violation of Florida law as well as several of Planet Fitness’ own policies. Liberty Counsel demands that Planet Fitness reinstate our client’s membership and adhere to the law and its own policies and protect the privacy of women. If this gym does not respect women’s legal and privacy rights, there are other gyms which will, and there are courts that will remedy this blatant disregard of women,” said Staver.
Used with the permission of Liberty Counsel.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.