KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Knoxville gym where a local scientist claims he was racially discriminated released a second statement Monday as they investigate the alleged incident.
Dr. Vinit Sharma said someone threw his belongings on the floor and called him a racial slur at Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center on Wednesday. His account detailed in a change.org petition has over 6,000 signatures.
In the petition, Dr. Sharma asks the gym to condemn the incident and ensure all future membership contracts include language that discrimination will not be tolerated and will be pursued seriously by gym administration.
The gym released a second statement on Monday as they continue the investigation into the incident.
WATE 6 On Your Side reached out to Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center for comment on Sunday. This was their response:
“Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center strives to provide a safe, inclusive and positive environment for those who use our facilities and services, and we work to maintain a welcoming space for all patrons and guests.
Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center does not tolerate racist, hateful, abusive or threatening language or behavior, or threats of physical violence. We take very seriously any allegations or reports of behaviors that do not follow this policy. We have launched an internal inquiry regarding the report of a recent incident involving two members at our facility.
Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex. Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex. If any member or guest believes they have experienced discrimination or has felt unsafe in our facility, we ask them to report it so that we can investigate their concerns.”