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Virgin Active probes T-shirt incident

An activist was told he would not be allowed to enter the gym unless he removed his political T-shirt.

An activist was told he would not be allowed to enter the Houghton gym unless he removed his political T-shirt.

JOHANNESBURG - Virgin Active said an investigation is underway after a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) activist was kicked out of a gym in Houghton because he was wearing a political T-shirt.

A video recording which shows the confrontation between Muhammad Desai and management of Virgin Active has sparked a debate on social media.

The red T-shirt Desai was wearing had the words: "In solidarity with Palestinians against Israeli apartheid," which staff at the gym believed was not appropriate.

In the video, he was told he will not be allowed to enter the premises unless he changes his shirt.

A man, thought to be the manager could also be heard saying, "I'll prefer no politicised T-shirts on such subjects at the gym."

But Desai believes this is unfair and said, "There are two issues at hand, the one is freedom of expression and the other is Palestinian Solidarity. When it comes to freedom of expression there are certain lawyers that are assisting in laying a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission and possibly even at the Equality Court because this is quite a clear-cut issue."