TikTok

Woman admits ‘gross mistake’ after calling out ‘weirdo’ in gym

LION Lunch Hour: Gym etiquette tips

A Tiktok creator has issued an effusive public apology after she accused a stranger of being a “feral” creep at the gym.

Jessica Fernandez was hit with a torrent of abuse over a video she posted last week, in which she fumed that a fellow weightlifter was “staring [at her] like a piece of meat”.

Her now-deleted clip went viral after it was shared by fitness influencer Joey Swoll, who tore her allegations to shreds, before saying: “There are women harassed in gyms. You're not one of them. You need to do better.”

On Wednesday, Fernandez published a TwitLonger blog post titled ‘My Gross Mistake: Addressing The Gym Video’.

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Describing her statement as “the most serious thing I have ever posted”, she began by “apologiz[ing] sincerely to the man at the gym where this all started”.

“He didn’t do anything wrong to me and I blew our interaction out of proportion.”

She then acknowledged that had she not been called out for the video, she “wouldn’t have had the chance to learn from this mistake or even realize [she] made a mistake to begin with.”

@thejoeyswoll

Women are harassed in gyms and it needs to stop, but you are not one of them. An act of kindness or a glance does not make you a victim.

Defending her intentions, she explained: “When I first posted the video I felt I was completely in the right and I felt I was making a good attempt to connect and relate to my female audience who may have dealt with uncomfortable situations at the gym.”

But, she stressed, “Now after reading literally thousands of comments about me, the situation and the man in question it truly opened my eyes to how damaging this could have been for him.

“Men and women deal with very different problems in the realm of the opposite sex and after looking through the lens of an innocent man put in a situation like that. It honestly made me feel sick to my stomach with guilt,” she went on.

She then described herself as “immature” for “ trying to make light of a situation that is a lot more serious and should be taken that way”. She then claimed that she had suffered “sexual assault and sexual harassment prior to this situation”, adding that “these events were extremely damaging to [her].”

Fernandez said that even though the man did “nothing damaging” to her, she still felt threatened in the situation and so “reacted by trying to cope with it in probably the worst way possible”.

“My past isn’t an excuse or a justification for what I did but it is something I want to personally and professionally address with a therapist in the future,” she said. “Because I don't want to, and will never, hurt anyone ever again in this way.”

She ended her statement by namechecking Swoll and his “community” for giving her the “wake-up call she needed.”

“I think it’s important to call people out on their mistakes and in the words of Joey help them ‘Do better’. This is exactly what I plan to do with not just my content but my life moving forward.”

Her message was met with some support on Twitter as users praised her for admitting her “mistake”.

“Good on you to admit it was an overreaction,” one wrote. “I think your video was important because even though that specific instance didn’t show any harassment, it showed how sometimes regular gestures can be taken that way because of how commonplace harassment is in a woman’s world.”

“Best response you could have given,” commented another. “We all make mistakes good luck in the future.”

However, others pointed to a previous, now-deleted statement, in which Fernandez wrote that she “will not apologise for “how [she] felt in that situation.”

In it, she wrote: “There was an issue prior to this part of the recording that led to me taping the second part of my workout for my own safety due to past experiences I’ve had. I realise now that if I were to post it for awareness I could have kept the stare encounter and blurred his face and make it more clear when I am joking, this is how I tend to cope.

“I was not thinking when that video was posted. I was thinking of this from a content perspective like ‘what jokes should I say that women could relate to’ and not from a ‘how could this negatively effect [sic] the people in the video. From my point of view this seemed like a relatable funny video some women could relate to.

She concluded her blog entry: "I am sorry that I painted this man in a bad light, but that’s how seriously I felt. It was wrong for me to take it like this and post it on the internet for all to see. I thought I was doing right and being entertaining at the same time but I made a gross mistake by trying to combine the two.”

Personally, we prefer this first apology. It’s clearly more genuine and we can understand where she’s coming from, even if we don’t agree with her actions. But such is the power of online hate, she was forced to replace it with an obsequious homage to Swoll and his “community”.

The whole thing makes us sad, quite frankly.

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