SF Gold’s Gym Franchise Cuts Ties Over Donation to Karl Rove

Gold's Gym San Francisco announced on Facebook yesterday that it is leaving its umbrella company, TRT Holdings, following news that Robert Rowling, the President, CEO and owner, made a large contribution to Karl Rove's SuperPAC American Crossroads.

Here's part of their announcement: Goldsgym

Our company has worked for over twenty years to support our LGBT staff, members and community in everyway possible and we will continue to.

We were as surprised by Mr. Rowling's action as anyone but because our company believes in and lives up to the ideals of equality for all we are going to take the following actions:

1: Our contractual obligation with Gold's Gym expires on September 15th, 2012 and on or prior to that date (our legal counsel is reviewing our options) we will leave the Gold's Gym brand. It is a major initiative to create a new brand and leave Gold's Gym which has been our identity for over 20 years but we will begin that process today.

2: For every dollar we pay Gold's Gym in franchise fees we will donate an equal or greater amount to LGBT charities. While we donate much more than this to charities and community groups that support the LGBT community we want to make a commitment to match or exceed this amount until our relationship with Gold's Gym can be severed.

3: Our management and staff will continue to support LGBT causes in every way possible and we will use our business as a platform to fight for change and equality for everyone. We have always taken great pride in being a leader in the LGBT community and we will continue to. 

Thank you,

Don Dickerson, Director of Operations, Gold's Gym Bay Area



  1. Darren says

    And that’s how you handle a business snafu of these types of proportions. Kudos to him and much success in the future to him and whatever brand they choose for their new independent gym. If I was in SF, I would change gyms just to support them.

  2. gregv says

    I am so glad to hear this. When I read about the donation, I had felt yesterday like my hands were dirty for having paid drop-in-fees to go to Gold’s Gym in SF while visiting there. Now, I would specifically seek out this company, whatever it will now be called.
    And I won’t set foot in another Gold’s Gym. I hope other franchisees follow SF’s lead.

  3. walter says

    finally a company doing the right thing. let all the business executives who make the decision to donate to people who preach hate that their donations have consequences.the LGBT community has to learn dollars are power and must use this power to make haters pay for their actions.

  4. ggreen says

    While the move is laudable, the gym needs to be as worried about the condition of its Castro area gym, which is hideous. The Carido equipment is in a constant state of disrepair, usually one or two or the weight machines are broken sometimes for months, the staff while LGBT inclusive/friendly are some of the rudest most incompetent I have ever met (including and especially the manager). The list goes on and on.

  5. scar2 says

    I’m in Canada & I belong to Gold’s because it just happened to be the closest one to my place. Despite my reservations about joining a gym full of big muscle-heads, I’ve grown to like it. I’m a creature of habit & very resistant to change but I think I’m going to quit my membership when it ends next month. Good thing there’s a new facility opening across the street.

  6. Steve says

    Great to see – they should turn this into a promotional opportunity. My bet is that they won’t lose any members as the result of losing the Gold’s Gym logo.

  7. Giff says

    Gold’s in Hollywood, CA already put out a statement too that it is not affiliated with TRT (is a separate franchise) and continues to support LGBT causes. I go there and it is very gay friendly and has the best customer service anywhere.

  8. Gage says

    Makes me proud to be a member of Golds Castro…this is the kind of business I want to have in my community. To all of you guys taking this opportunity to criticize the gym – you’re missing the point.

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