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Social Media Crisis PR Marketing

Virgin Active apologises for poorly judged ‘woke’ response to privacy concerns about CCTV


By Charlotte McEleny, Asia Editor

March 21, 2019 | 3 min read

Virgin Active in South East Asia has had to issue an apology for its response to a customer complaint about CCTV cameras in areas where women are naked.

Virgin Active

Virgin Active Singapore has apologised for its tone on social media

The brand responded to a complaint, suggesting that it was the customer’s responsibility to be covered up in certain areas of the spa facility in its Raffles Place gym in Singapore.

Most specifically, the wording of the response riled Singapore’s social media users and caused the response to go viral.

Virgin Active SIngapore

It said at the time: “while we celebrate body positivity just like anyone living in the now times and is morally obligated to stay woke and is part of the 'me too' movement, we trust our customers are aware enough to be covered up when moving through the club.”

However, Christian Mason, managing director for South East Asia at Virgin Active, has issued a letter of apology for the words used. “The tone in our recent Facebook posts and responses was inappropriate, insensitive and not in line with our brand values. This has been addressed with the team, and we will take this opportunity to learn, and to improve,” he said.

He also added that signs had been added to the spaces where the cameras were present. Some social media users have noted on the post that Virgin Active is yet to explain what happened to the footage which may have captured naked women without them knowing.

Prior to this scandal, Virgin Active had been working hard on marketing that shows the brand as conscious of social issues. In Thailand last year, Virgin Active launched a workout class that helped teach people CPR.

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