Local Gold's Gym franchise owners were between a rock and a hard place this week after news spread that the CEO of TRT Holdings, the company that owns the Gold's brand, recently donated $2 million to a conservative group opposed to gay rights.
The Hollywood location of the iconic, Venice-born gyms issued a statement distancing itself from the parent company (via Weho Daily):
Gold's Gym Hollywood has been locally owned and operated for over twenty years and is NOT owned or operated by TRT. Gold's Gym Hollywood started in 1991 as the place for everyone to feel comfortable no matter race, creed, color or sexual orientation. Diversity has been a cornerstone in our business since we opened and always will be.
The donation by CEO Robert Rowling to American Crossroads, a political group with ties to Karl Rove that backs candidates who oppose gay rights, prompted four Gold's locations in the Bay Area to sever their ties with the brand.
Golds locations are operated as franchises, with owners paying licensing fees to the parent company. But even that company, part of TRT, stated that it had nothing to do with its boss' donation:
“Gold's Gym did not make a donation to American Crossroads (or any other political organization) and in no way supports antigay causes,” reads a statement given by Golds Gym International to the Advocate.
Gold's started in Venice 1965 and soon became known as professional body building's epicenter, with Mr. Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger establishing it as his base.