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After Planet Fitness Got Devalued by $400 Million in Just 5 Days Due to the Transgender Issue, What Is Next for Them?

Published 04/02/2024, 4:45 PM EDT

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Planet Fitness, the gym chain giant and the largest of its kind found itself in hot water. The issue arose when Patricia Silva made a video about her encounter with a trans woman inside the women’s locker room. The incident occurred at a Planet Fitness branch in Fairbanks, Alaska.

However, the Fairbanks gym canceled her membership after she published her initial video. Things snowballed as Silva took to social media to announce the cancellation of her gym membership from Planet Fitness. However, the gym chain probably didn’t think it would go so far as to cost them $400 million in market valuation in five days, but it did.

Did Planet Fitness make a hasty decision?

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The New Hampshire-based company took a massive hit in market valuation after the Patricia Silva incident became viral. While Silva didn’t say anything derogatory about the trans woman in her initial video, Planet Fitness did not take kindly to Silva’s actions.

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Silva found out that her membership had been canceled and made another video of the incident. This was the video that caused the backlash. Silva explained that she took a picture of the trans woman and said she felt uncomfortable before leaving the gym. However, the gym chain took action against her citing a violation of the gym’s policies.

A Planet Fitness spokesperson told The National Desk that Silva violated the company’s mobile device policy. The Spokesperson also said she violated the company’s “no judgment” rules. As early as 2015, the gym chain established a no-judgment policy not to make members feel discriminated against. Every branch has the logo “no critics” on its walls.

However, these policies and their implementation have come into question multiple times in the past. “All members have access to restroom and locker room facilities that correspond to their self-reported gender identity to the extent permitted by applicable law,” states the gym chain’s policy.

Is this turning into Bud-light 2.0?

Patricia Silva’s video and the incident went viral after Libs of TikTok posted it to a larger audience. “Whoa. Planet Fitness saw $400 Million wiped off its value since we broke the story,” the page posted on 20 March. Countless people have called on others to boycott the gym chain after the news went viral. #BoycottPlanetFitness seemed to have worked.

The incident mirrors what happened with Bud Light in 2023, where Alissa Heinerscheid, then-vice president of marketing, picked transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney as their brand ambassador. However, the public outrage that followed cost Bud Light $27 billion in market value. The brand also lost its status as the best-selling beer brand in the US.

While the financial bleeding for Planet Fitness seems to have stagnated for now, the #BoycottPlanetFitness is still going strong. However, Planet Fitness is standing its ground. “As the home of the Judgement Free Zone, Planet Fitness is committed to creating an inclusive environment,” chief corporate affairs officer McCall Gosselin told Fox News.

“Our gender identity non-discrimination policy, states that members and guests may use the gym facilities that best align with their sincere, self-reported gender identity,” he added. However, the future projections for Planet Fitness do not look as dire as they did for Bud Light a year ago.

Will Planet Fitness bounce back?

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Planet Fitness has held its ground and has avoided commenting on the highly sensitive topic of gender identity. Instead, they have asserted the mobile device policy violation whenever faced with questions about Silva’s membership cancelation. According to independent reporters like The Quartering on YouTube, the company is also undertaking damage control on social media.

However, Zacks Equity Research says the giant might not be affected by the incident in the long run. Although the stocks have plummeted, the firm has argued why investors should hold on to Planet Fitness stocks. The firm revealed that Planet Fitness is “focused on strategic partnerships and global expansions.” Currently, the company is looking to expand into Spain.

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The firm reported that only 10% of Spanish people hold gym membership. So Planet Fitness hopes to capitalize and drive growth in the European market. While the boycott trend might be in high gear now, the company also reported that its Gen Z members grew in 2023. Zacks Equity Research reported that these factors could help the company bounce back by the end of this year. What happens next remains to be seen. What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.

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Written by:

Sagnik Bagchi

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Sagnik Bagchi is a senior bodybuilding writer at EssentiallySports. A passionate fitness enthusiast himself, Sagnik uses his knowledge of bodybuilding to focus on the coverage of major events like the Mr. Olympia and Arnold Classic.
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Edited by:

Gokul Pillai