Gym turns sights on lazy after 'fatties' ad row

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 July, 1999, 12:00am

A fitness centre is to change the target of a poster campaign from 'fatties' to lazy people after the promotion was labelled derogatory.

But English versions of the California Fitness Centre's poster - which show a picture of an alien and the message: 'When they come, they'll eat the flabby ones first' - will remain.

The turnaround came after the Equal Opportunities Commission attacked the fitness centre for making fun of fat people.

The giant billboards feature in several locations, including Tsim Sha Tsui, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay. The Chinese version translates as 'fatties', not 'flabby ones'.

The fitness centre has now agreed to change the Chinese wording to 'When they come, they'll eat the lazy ones first' when new posters go up on Monday, while keeping the English version the same.

But California's chief executive officer, Eric Levine, insisted the original Chinese version was not discriminatory.

'Independent translations of our campaign have proven that our Chinese translation is not 'derogatory and distasteful',' Mr Levine said. However, as an act of goodwill, the fitness centre would change the content of its future advertisements.

He said the English versions would remain the same 'because all of us are flabby. It's not an insulting term'.

Equal Opportunities Commission senior officer Mariana Law Po-chu said: 'We welcome the change after taking our advice into consideration and we'll let the public decide if the new version is acceptable.'