Gym membership revoked after racial comment in locker room

MADISON, Wis.– Princeton Club has revoked a man’s membership after a guest reported he shouted a racial slur in the locker room Thursday morning.

Barclay Pollak said he was finishing up his workout when a man said the N-word in the locker room at Princeton Club on Madison’s west side.

“I shot him a look in the mirror to let him know I was displeased with the language he had chosen to use. He saw my look and responded with ‘I’m listening to rap music, boy,'” Pollak said.

Pollak said there were three or four other men in the locker room at the time, and they all stayed silent.

“Despite everything that’s happening nationally with George Floyd and some of these other improprieties that are being brought to light in society, no one chose to say anything,” Pollak said. “There was a lot of complacency, and that is probably more heartbreaking than anything.”

Pollak recorded on his phone as he confronted the man leaving the facility and as he reported the incident to the front desk. Pollak posted the video to his Facebook page. He said he wouldn’t return until that individual could no longer use the facilities.

Pollak said he does not hold The Princeton Club responsible for this behavior. He said the owner Peter Gary called him to personally apologize for the incident.

“We will not tolerate this behavior at our clubs and the membership of the individual who chose to behave in such a way has been permanently cancelled. Our clubs are a place we want everyone to feel comfortable, safe and welcome, while being a place to work on improving their health and fitness. We are sad you had to experience this, Barclay, but are grateful that we can all work together in not allowing such behavior,” Princeton Club commented on Pollak’s Facebook post.

Pollak said this wasn’t the first time he’s heard racial slurs in the locker room.

“This incident was not good, but there have been other incidents that have built and built and built, and today’s incident was kind of the proverbial last straw,” Pollak said.

Pollak said people take for granted doing simple tasks, like in his case just going to the gym.

“Part of the reason I feel like I had to speak up and say something is because if I don’t then situations and circumstances like this will be normalized,” Pollak said. “It shouldn’t happen, especially when you’re doing something as mundane and as ho hum as going to the gym.”

Pollak said it’s not difficult to find other stories like his out there.

“There is an opportunity here, because the national dialogue has changed, because public opinion is changing. There is an opportunity here to share these stories, and I would encourage more people like myself to share their stories and to speak up,” Pollak said.

News 3 Now reached out to Princeton Club for comment and did not immediately hear back.