PureGyms in East London vandalised after CEO supports Israel on Question Time

Humphrey Cobbold said Britain should supply ‘defensive weapons’ to the Jewish state but not ‘big bombs’


PureGyms in east London have been hit by a campaign of vandalism (Photo: Instagram)

Several London gyms have been vandalised by pro-Palestine activists amid a boycott campaign launched after their CEO said Britain should continue selling arms to Israel.

PureGyms in Whitechapel and Shoreditch have been graffitied with slogans demanding, “boycott genocide gym,” and, “your gym supports bombing kids”.

A campaign to boycott the company, which has nearly 400 sites across Britain, has been promoted on social media by anti-Israel activists.

It was launched after CEO Humphrey Cobbold was asked on Question Time last Thursday whether the British government should halt arms sales to the Jewish state if the IDF invade Rafah, as President Joe Biden has threatened to do.

He replied: "I'm not aware of which specific weapons the US is stopping. They've got a lot more weapons they're shipping than we are.

"They've stopped some big bombs which sounds like a very sensible thing to stop doing.”

The UK should continue supplying weapons “required for defence” and the Iron Dome missile defence system, however, Cobbold continued.

"We saw horrendous attacks on Israel from Iran that were dealt with partly by British and American forces as well as we saw and I think defensive weapons should still be allowed to go through…

"As I stand at the moment, I think we should support in general the Israeli government in being able to defend themselves against… remember Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organisation that has insisted on deciding to eradicate Jews and eradicate Israel and we've got to remember that when we deal with this.”

On X, formerly known as Twitter, users began attacking Cobbold and demanding that their followers, “#BoycottPureGym”.

"I have cancelled my PureGym membership because their CEO is pro-genocide,” Muslim writer Hamza Tzortzis said.

"To all my followers: please cancel your memberships and join another gym."

One activist, Akhi Ayman, suggested the Muslim community should provide an alternative to PureGym.

He told followers online: "I feel like every single mosque is failing their community if they don't have a gym facility for the community. That could generate money to look after the mashid [mosque].”

Attacking Cobbold as a, “cold-blooded, cruel psychopath,” another social media user shared a template letter requesting the cancellation of PureGym membership.

It read: "As a member of your gym, I expect a certain level of professionalism from the company's leadership. The remarks made by the CEO are not only inappropriate but also reflect poorly on the values of inclusivity and respect that should be upheld by any reputable organisation.

“In light of these remarks, I no longer feel comfortable supporting PureGym and wish to disassociate myself from the company. I kindly request that you process my cancellation without delay and provide confirmation of the termination of my membership.”

Sharing a photo of the damage to the Shoreditch PureGym, one social media user wrote: “PureGym has got the message.”

PureGym declined to comment.


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