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Woman 'humiliated' after gym asks her to cover up 'inappropriate' tank top

A woman working out at her Ottawa gym says she was shamed because her tank top accentuated her large chest.
/ Source: TODAY

A Canadian woman is speaking out against a local gym that told her she was wearing a tank top considered "inappropriate" and "offensive" because it was too small for her large chest.

The woman claims in a Facebook post that she pointed out other women who were wearing tank tops nearly identical in style to hers, but "they informed me that it did not matter that due to my chest size I could not wear a tank top."

A director for the Ottawa gym called the incident “unfortunate” in a statement to TODAY, but insists the woman’s attire was far less modest than she claims.

The woman, who posted her story on Facebook under the name Rose Nickels but was identified by both the gym and a Canadian news article as Jenna Vecchio, said the experience left her mortified.

“I felt humiliated and discriminated against due to my figure," she wrote in her Facebook post, which included several pictures of the top she was wearing. "I was singled out and it is unfair to say I cannot wear a tank top and other women can! Different figures means different rules?”

Vecchio said she asked “every woman at the club who I could find” on the way out if her clothing offended them.

“They responded no, it became clear that the only ones offended were the two women supervisors working at the club today,” she wrote.

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Movati Athletic Club responded with a statement from Sean Whittal, the area director in Ottawa, who said the business strives to create an atmosphere where all members feel “welcome, comfortable and healthy.” That means imposing rules about modest athletic attire, as well as limiting cell phone usage and keeping the facility clean.

“While it may not have been intentional, Ms. Vecchio’s attire was not as modest as she has suggested via the images she shared recently on Facebook and through media interviews, and caused multiple members to feel uncomfortable and voice their concerns to our staff,” Whittal said in the statement.

Following Vecchio's social media post, Movati conducted an investigation that included numerous first-hand accounts from members and staff, he said. The business also had a follow-up meeting with Vecchio.

“Upon conclusion of our interviews, we stand by the original decision that confirms that Ms. Vecchio was dressed inconsistently with our code of conduct,” Whittal said. “The Movati staff never indicated Ms. Vecchio’s style of shirt was not appropriate – it was the lack of coverage that was the issue as she exercised adjacent to other members.”

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Whittal said it did not intend to embarrass Vecchio but “we did feel it necessary to address the situation with her due to member discomfort.” He said Vecchio was approached in a professional and discreet manner and did not ask her to leave, but “she and her husband chose to escalate the matter publicly."

Vecchio did not respond to a Facebook request for comment, but she noted in the reply section of her original post that she planned to change gyms.

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