Texas gym tells woman she can't wear anti-Trump shirts

CYPRESS, Texas -- Ximena Duarte doesn't like the president, and she's not shy about it.

A walk into her closet shows about a dozen anti-Donald Trump T-shirts and tank tops. Some say "Impeach Trump," while others say "Donald Trump is Human Garbage." She even tie-dyed a shirt for variety.

But on August 9, when Duarte went to her upscale Villa Sports Athletic Club and Spa in Cypress, she ran into problems. That day, the gym's general manager, Herb Lipsman, asked Duarte to remove the shirt.

"He basically said, 'Some gym members were offended by your shirt,'" Duarte said. "'What are you considering offensive? Because I can then point to anyone else at the gym.' And then I said, 'Well, that red shirt offends me. Are you also going to ask them to take it off?'"

Duarte said she had worn the same shirt to Villa Sports a handful of times before, but this incident was the first time she was asked to change clothes or leave. Duarte said she felt singled out.

"If it had said something else, I don't think he would have asked me to take it off," she said. "The gym is mostly rich and white, very few people of color at the gym."

Upset, Duarte and the gym's management went back and forth via email, eventually getting the company's corporate lawyer involved. However, much like our national politics, the gym and Duarte could not find common ground.

Thursday afternoon, Villa Sports' parent company released a statement:

"Villa Sport promotes and enjoys a diverse membership and staff, and our goal is to create a family-friendly environment for everyone. Ms. Duarte's T-shirt was intentionally provocative and negative. Any statement that any person or group is 'human garbage' is inappropriate in the harmonious club atmosphere we strive to foster."

The corporate office said it fully supports the actions of its Cypress location's general manager.

Duarte, though, remains unsatisfied.

"If they can wear their MAGA hats to Wal-Mart and the gym, why can't I wear my political beliefs on my shirt?" she said.

Both sides have since decided to part ways. Duarte canceled her membership and has since joined Life Time Fitness at City Centre. She said she wears her anti-Trump shirts there often and has not had any issues.

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