Equinox's New Ad Is Unacceptable

Oh, Equinox. When will you learn? After raising eyebrows, controversy, and upset with their last few ad campaigns (some of which were shot by Terry Richardson), the luxury fitness center is at it again. Equinox’s #preapologize campaign is just as stupid, offensive, and obnoxious as its predecessors, except now instead of just being sexist, the ads actually encourage sexual harassment. Lovely.

At first, the #preapologize campaign seemed to be simply eye-roll worthy and obnoxious. According to the company’s Twitter, the logic behind the new campaign is “This year, when you get into great shape, you just might get into a little trouble.” One of the tweeted ads features a pictures of bodies underwater with the words “For Making ‘Your Pool is My Pool' A Thing, I #Preapologize,” with the tweet caption “Don’t apologize for your actions this summer. #Preapologize and do it anyway.” Another shows a couple of women using an American flag to cover their nude bodies.

But the brand didn’t stop there. Equinox’s Chief Marketing Officer, Carlos Becil, released the following "official preapology:"

This is coming from a man who defended Equinox’s #equinoxmademedoit ad campaign by telling the New York Times,

We do have a provocative tone of voice and we’re not a brand that’s for everyone, but I don’t believe we’re doing it just for the sake of being provocative…This campaign is playful and it’s inspired by our members and it’s meant to be empowering and emboldening.

We can only suspect that he will use the same positive buzzwords and unapologetic statements to spin the controversy that will come with this campaign. Clearly this man has not taken any criticism of the previous campaigns, which were porny and objectifying, to heart. In fact, Equinox has upped the ante with the most offensive ad so far.

The latest piece of the #preapology shows woman’s scantily-clad butt, and cast on it is the shadow of an open hand getting ready to cop a feel. The picture, advertising an exclusive summer offer, is next to the words “We #preapologize for making you an offer you can’t refuse,” which smacks of "you know you want it" rhetoric and suggests that sexual harassment is completely fine as long as you apologize for it. Better yet, you can "#preapologize" and do it anyway, with no consequence whatsoever. After all, "when you get into great shape you just might get into little trouble" (#equinoxmademedoit). According to Equinox, the opportunity for harassment is something that you "can’t refuse" (just like their summer deal; sign up now!).

It just gets worse. Equinox also put the shadow hand/booty shot on the top of their website, taunting visitors, “We Double-Dare You, Exclusive Summer Offer Ends August 31.” Clearly, Equinox is under the impression that grabbing non-consenting women is not only a-OK, but also a fun truth or dare game that all of their new members can enjoy. Well, I'm sorry to break it to you, but grabbing, harassing, petting, poking, and any kind of touching of a non-consenting person is not okay, no matter how toned their butt is, how much you think their clothes/demeanor/aura is asking for it.

So please Equinox, get your shit together. These stunts are getting old.

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