“We offer you high quality fitness at the lowest possible price” – these are the words Benefit fitness studio uses to attract new members. But in any case, not everyone is welcome in the Eidelstedt department. People with a migration background are rejected. Especially male.
Tara K. (19) and her boyfriend Amir A. (21) are athletic young people. Amir A. is a football player. As a supplement to the workout, he decided to go into a gym. His girlfriend also wanted to join. The couple from Schnelsen chose the service on Hörgensweg in Eidelstedt, where the monthly cost is only 19.99 euros. A good price for the trainee and the student who is just about to obtain his technical qualifications.
Amir A. had to pay an advance of 800 euros
Tara was the first to sign up. The 19-year-old made a time for himself and was admitted without any problems. A week later, Amir would do the same. But this time everything was different.
“I was supposed to pay an advance of 800 euros for a two-year membership,” says the 21-year-old. Amir asked if it was a mistake, since his girlfriend, after all, had not had to pay anything of the sort a week earlier. But the man at the counter held on. The coach was “hostile” to him, says Amir A.
Tara K .: “It’s pure racism!”
When he told Tara about it at home, the boyfriend was outraged. “It’s pure racism,” Tara is sure. The couple decided to reunite to get an explanation for the difference in treatment. But Benefit unkindly insisted on the astronomically high entry fee for Amir.
“I slammed my member bracelet on the table and said I would not train here anymore,” says Tara.
Numerous racism lawsuits against Benefit Studio
Amir is Iranian. He has lived in Germany for many years. In the Google reviews of the fitness center, the couple found a number of indications of discrimination at Benefit in Eidelstedt. “They do not like foreigners,” writes a man named Ferdi Osman. “Very rude and racist staff,” said a woman named Zara Habibi. “They select foreigners even worse than in clubs. Racists!” scolds a user named Jatten.
Three years ago, MOPO also reported on a young man who did not even get a time at the benefits study in Eidelstedt – unlike his German friends, with whom he put the sports center to the test. In the case of Tara and Amir, MOPO did the test. A male editor with a very German name asked to be admitted to the studio. Meet? No problem. Costs? 19.99 euros. Additional costs? None. the communication? Friendly and polite.
Hamburg: Gym is not ready to comment
Performance officials declined to comment. All calls to the Eidelstedt department were rejected with reference to electronic contact. Three email inquiries went unanswered. The call to the headquarters in Bad Zwischenahn had not succeeded either. The recall promised on Thursday has not yet taken place.
“It hit us so hard,” says Tara K., who herself has a migration background, though one hardly notices it. Tara’s parents are from Iran, but she was born in Hamburg herself, has German citizenship and speaks like a real “Hamburg Deern” does.
“I feel like a German and an Iranian. But my home country is Germany, ”emphasizes the young woman who is a trained soldier at the Bundeswehr. “I also had to come to terms with discriminatory remarks over and over again,” she reports. “It’s very hurtful.” Amir can not let go of the incident either. “It makes me sad to think about it.”
Numerous cases of racism in gyms
Tara K. and Amir A. want to contact the anti-discrimination agency. Their spokesman Sebastian Bickerich is well acquainted with the subject of racism and fitness studies.
“There are a lot of black sheep in the gyms,” Bickerich says. There are many cases of people not being accepted because of their migration background. The number of women with headscarves who were asked to remove their covers also increased. “Safety aspects are given as the cause, but it’s flimsy,” Bickerich says.
Discrimination against women wearing headscarves
A similar case can be found in the Google reviews in favor of Eidelstedt: “I wanted to try a trial lesson with a friend, but unfortunately it did not happen because it is not allowed to practice sports with a headscarf,” writes a Yasmin. .
Fitness centers are also bound by the ordinary equal treatment law. Neither a distinction by origin nor gender is allowed. “For those affected, it’s massive experiences of exclusion,” Bickerich says. “It is important that they do not accept this and intervene against it.” The Anti-Discrimination Agency is available to advise those affected.