Gym student accuses personal trainer of sexual harassment, trainer denies the allegations

Two days ago on 4 August, a Singaporean personal trainer named Cheryl Loh had shared on social media an incident she witnessed at a gym she works at – Apeiro Performance. Her sharing gained massive attention as it involved alleged sexual harassment between a man personal trainer and a woman student.

Ms Loh explained that the trainer involved works as a freelance trainer in the aforementioned gym, and she had witnessed him “touching inappropriately and groping” his student during certain exercises in the gym.

Therefore, the female trainer approached the student by messaging her on Instagram, describing to her that what the accused trainer did was “unprofessional”, and asking if the student felt comfortable with him doing that.

The student replied to her that she felt “uncomfortable” with that and she told her trainer to “stop touching her butt”. In response, the male trainer allegedly told his student that he did it to “check her muscle”.

Apart from that, when the student shared her training videos to her friends, they commented that she did her sessions “wrongly”, leading her to claim that her trainer was being “unprofessional”.

She proceeded to tell Ms Loh that she wanted to stop her sessions soon but she was held back because she had paid for her training.

Along with Ms Loh’s written evidence, she also uploaded a video showing the accused trainer allegedly touching his student inappropriately, as well as a screenshot of a conversation between Ms Loh and the student.

Following that, Ms Loh shared that Apeiro had since removed him from using the gym for his personal training sessions on 2 August onwards. The student had also stopped training with him.

Ms Loh revealed that the student is not planning to lodge any police report, but had given her the permission to share her story on social media.

“She will not be making a police report, but she has given me the permission to share about this as she also wants all women, girls, or even guys out there to know that this behaviour is not acceptable and that nobody should put up with any actions that make them feel uneasy, uncomfortable, and disrespected.”

The gym posted an Instagram Story revealing that actions had been taken against the trainer, and the management believes that “any kind of such action will not be tolerated”.

However, the accused personal trainer, who apparently goes by the name David Mesut, told AsiaOne his side of the story yesterday (5 August).

Mr Mesut claimed that the student had “consented to the physical contact”, and denied the allegations of sexual misconduct.

He would also be making a police report on the “false accusations” against him and is obtaining legal advice.

Defending that the student “understood” and “consented” to physical contact, Mr Mesut expressed that she did not object to any aspects – actions of him “touching and groping” her – shown in the video taken.

“The video was shown to me by the client and we both discussed the exercise that she was doing. She did not place any objection to any aspects of the video or the fact that there was physical contact.

“Right from the beginning, I had told her about physical contact on a particular part of her body and she said that she understood and therefore, consented.”

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August 2020