Equinox is in yet another sexual harassment case.
A former manager of an Equinox gym in New York City’s Upper East Side says his boss sexually harassed him, according to the New York Post. Harold De Longchamp, an ex-general manager, has filed a lawsuit with the Manhattan Supreme Court after he says he was fired for complaining about mistreatment from Regional Manager Adam Gecht.
Initially, De Longchamp’s relationship with the company and his boss was good. In March of 2018, De Longchamp was hired at the East 8th Street gym as an assistant general manager. He was then promoted a year later to GM and earned a base salary of $93,000. But on January 29, 2019, Gecht told De Longchamp that he couldn’t get a free facial from work unless he shaved his mustache. Gecht then added that De Longchamp looked, “like a child molester.”
The harassment from Gecht then continued, according to De Longchamp. The lawsuit says that on May 9, 2019, Gecht whispered to De Longchamp “nice bulge” while the two were in bathing suits at a work function in Florida. Later in the trip, Gecht said to De Longchamp over breakfast that he admired De Longchamp for being gay and getting to “be sexually promiscuous.” He also allegedly told De Longchamp “the closer we are with each other, the farther you’ll get in the company.”
De Longchamp says he then filed two complaints with the company. He claims that the first time, the company’s Human Resource department deterred him. The lawsuit says that on May 15, 2019, the HR director told De Longchamp, “that’s just Adam, no one takes him seriously.” Then after Adam Gecht got promoted in December of 2019, De Longchamp’s new boss told him that he was friends with Gecht. The new boss then allegedly asked, “Are we going to have any problems?”
“Defendants’ true reason for terminating plaintiff was solely due to discrimination on the basis of his sex/gender (male) and sexual orientation (gay), and for complaining of said discrimination,” the suit charges.
Again, this isn’t the first time that Equinox has been at the center of a sexual assault case. In 2018, a straight man sued the Equinox gym on Broadway in Gramercy Park after he witnessed three men masturbating in the steam room.
“I’m relaxing, I’m sitting in the corner, it’s very meditative,” he recalled at the time.
“The steam clears . . . And I look across from me. This gentleman, sitting pretty close, his towel is open, his legs are spread and he’s looking right at me, and the guy next to him was rubbing [the man’s] inner thigh,” he continued. “He’s looking right at me, his towel’s off and he’s masturbating.”
In the same year, the Greenwich Avenue gym was sued by former gym member Shane Crandall after he says he escaped from a rape attempt in the gym’s steam room. In a similar situation, Crandall reported sitting in the steam room and looking up to see another patron masturbating as he looked at Crandall.
“As soon as I stood up, he wrapped his legs around mine,” he said. “As that happened, I pulled back and I lost my towel. He took his hand and grabbed my arm. He was trying to press his body against mine. I was screaming. I had to do everything I could to get out of the situation.”
Crandall says that when he reported the incident, the gym allegedly did nothing. He claims the company said it was a he-said/he-said situation.
Unfortunately, there are many more circumstances like this. From an ex-Equinox member suing in California for allegedly being sexually assaulted by a yoga instructor in 2017 to a Canadian man suing a gym in San Francisco for having his membership revoked after he complained of sexual assault. But will the recent case with Harold De Longchamp go a similar route? Or, will he see justice?