Last month, we reported about a massively popular LA Weekly freelance contribution from Jonathan Maseng. In the article, Maseng wrote about how the owner and some members of the downtown branch of the CrossFit gym chain had posed for a photo with a homeless person passed out in the streets and then gloried by sharing the resulting picture (and other related snaps) on the business’s official Facebook page.
This past Monday, July 30, aforementioned CrossFit Mean Streets owner Ronnie Teasdale sent out to members a long email/Facebook message about the resulting controversy. While he admitted that the photos (since removed) were in poor taste, he tried to deflect some of the controversy by noting that the passed out individuals shown were not homeless but rather habitually drunk customers of nearby bars. People that he claims he and his staff know well:
Many of the pictures in the article are over two years old. Let me be clear about who the people in the pictures are: they are not homeless people. They are alcoholics who are regulars at the bars nearby the gym. We know their names and have interacted with them over the time the gym has been open, including getting them help when needed. I don’t condone the photos, but the implication of the article, which is that the gym was abusing homeless people or refusing to come to the aid of people in need, is false.