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Planet Fitness hires new DEI-focused CEO amid controversy over transgender locker room policy

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Planet Fitness, which plummeted $400 million in value in March after gym-goers boycotted the franchise over a transgender policy, announced it was hiring a new CEO Tuesday who has a history of pushing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Colleen Keating headed FirstKey Homes for the past four years, where she signed onto the “CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge,” which promises to “continually strive to diversify our workforce, hiring through a DE&I lens to find talent in multiple locations and backgrounds,” according to The New York Post.

In LinkedIn post from two years ago she said she signed the CEO DEI pledge “to crystallize my unwavering commitment to advancing #diversity, #equity and #inclusion in the workplace and the communities we serve.”

“I was proud to be a part of this critical conversation with my peers who are equally committed to making our workplaces trusting places to have complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion, implement and expand unconscious bias education, share best practices (and lessons learned!), and create and share strategic inclusion and diversity plans,” the post added.

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Planet Fitness hires new DEI-focused CEO after value plummets $400m from transgender boycott. (Getty Images)

In a 2022 interview with Triple Pundit, Keating said ensuring the corporate DEI push isn’t just a flash in the pan but “starts with DEI being embedded in a company’s culture and clearly demonstrated in words and actions across the organization. When we stop thinking about DEI as a ‘program’ and recognize it as an imperative that’s woven into the very fabric of our company then DEI can’t be a half-measure or a failure.”

When reached for comment, Planet Fitness pointed to its press release announcing Keating’s hiring. 

“Colleen’s deep operational knowledge, strategic mindset and understanding of large-scale franchise operations and consumer-facing brands made her stand out among the candidates considered,” Planet Fitness board chairman Stephen Spinelli Jr. said in the release. “She also has a proven track record of building results-oriented teams and instilling cultures that put a premium on operational excellence and rigor, which we believe will be additive to Planet Fitness. We are confident that Colleen is an exceptional leader with the desired skills, experience and culture-first mindset necessary to accelerate Planet Fitness’s next phase of growth.”

The Western New England University graduate is set to replace Chris Rondeau as CEO of the “judgment free zone” gym on June 10. The Post reports Planet Fitness shares fell by an additional 1.7% earlier this week.

The decline started with the story of Patricia Silva, a Planet Fitness regular in Fairbanks, Alaska, who sparked outrage on social media by recounting her experience of seeing “a man with a penis” shaving in the women’s locker room in front of what appeared to be a 12-year-old girl.

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Patricia Silva

Patricia Silva told Fox News Digital she is determined to keep up her fight for women’s rights. (Fox News Digital)

“Planet Fitness is defending the man in the women’s locker room, the man with a penis, rather than the child sitting in the corner with a towel wrapped around her,” the 67-year-old said in a video posted on X.

The gym revoked Silva’s membership, saying photographing another gym-goer is against Planet Fitness policy.

However, Silva’s experience wasn’t the first encounter of its kind that the international gym franchise has run into.

On April 4, 38-year-old Christopher Miller was arrested and charged by North Carolina police for indecent exposure in the women’s locker room at a Planet Fitness for allegedly stripping naked and asking a teen to shower together, all while declaring he identified as a woman.

The Post found that Miller gave no indication that he was transgender prior to barging into the changing room. He was held at Gaston County jail on a$25,000 bond.

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In the fall, a 25-year-old man allegedly exposed himself in front of a 15-year-old girl at a Planet Fitness in Georgia, and 45-year-old Layton Kessler of North Dakota was arrested for installing devices to record women at another one of the gym’s locations.

Bathroom

Public washroom or bathroom sign hanging from the ceiling.  (Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Earlier this winter, Fox 2 reported that in Michigan, local police arrested 30-year-old Jeremiah Wiltfong for masturbating in his vehicle at a Planet Fitness parking lot as he reportedly recorded women walking by.

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The health club lets members use the locker room of their “self-reported gender,” and says the following on its website: “Planet Fitness locker room facilities and programs based on their self-reported gender identity; these facilities include bathrooms, showers, and all other facilities separated by sex.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Keating but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story said Planet Fitness revenue had decreased 1.7 percent; it was actually its shares that had.

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