Gym owner's Anne Frank comparison sparks fury online

Marni Dixit
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

A UK gym owner has come under fire after comparing themselves to Anne Frank after being asked to close their business for a month due to the second national coronavirus lockdown in England.

Ripped Gym shared a photo of Anne Frank with the caption: "The people who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law. The people who killed her were following it."

Ripped Gym, located in Harlow, Essex in England, defied lockdown laws and remained open to the public. Photo: Instagram/Ripped Gym
Ripped Gym, located in Harlow, Essex in England, defied lockdown laws and remained open to the public. Photo: Instagram/Ripped Gym

A Reddit user shared the post to the subreddit r/trashy and wrote: "Local gym comparing themselves to Anne Frank because they were asked to close for a month."

"To compare this situation to the genuine horror that girl & her family faced is almost evil in itself," one user commented.

"Yeah it seems a disgusting thing to say," another responded.

"The difference is they broke the law to stay inside and avoid death, rather than breaking the law to go outside and cause death," someone else wrote.

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"That comparison doesn’t even make sense. That quote is meant to show that law doesn’t equal morality. Not sure what they’re trying to say with it," another said.

Another user shared a YouTube video of the owner Michelle being interviewed for Your Harlow and when asked why she's opened her gym despite the lockdown she said: "We've opened for our members, for their mental health. We deem ourselves as essential for members and their mental health."

The gym was under fire after comparing themselves to Anne Frank after having to close for a month. Photo: Instagram/RippedGym
The gym was under fire after comparing themselves to Anne Frank after having to close for a month. Photo: Instagram/RippedGym

"There are possible consequences which I'm willing to take. If the government would report correct figures and not manipulate the figures then I would be more than happy to abide by the rules, but when I'm being lied to no I won't.”

She revealed she closed the gym in March for four and a half months, where they had "minimal help from the government".

Michelle continued, saying that when they reopened she lost a lot of members, which she put down to scaremongering.

She explained to the interviewer that she doesn't believe the government's numbers on COVID-19 deaths because she believes the deaths could be a person who tested positive for the virus but then got hit by a car.

"They're not Covid deaths, they're not even Covid related!" she said.

When asked if she's expecting a visit from the police, she said: "I do expect a visit from the authorities and Ripped Gym comes under common law so we have a right. The government is there to govern, not to rule. So, I have the right to earn a living and I'm going to."

After the journalist responded that other gyms have tried to do the same thing and been heavily fined, she said: "I'm willing to lose this business for what I believe in. And I believe the government is lying."

Another Reddit post featured Michelle's arrest which she filmed. In the video, police tell Michelle that they plan on charging the manager £1000 and the people using the gym £200.

"I do not consent to any fines, I'm not entering into a contract," she tells the policeman.

"I'm a living woman and we're under common law," she told him.

She was then subsequently arrested for breach of COVID-19 regulations.

The gym has since launched a GoFundMe page to pay for members who received a fine.

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