Woman was told 'men have testosterone' after harassment complaint

Former Tory councillor, 22, who complained about being harassed by a male gym-goer is told ‘testosterone levels are high’ after complaining to an employee

  • Elena Bunbury said she was called ‘pathetic’ and mocked for using ‘light’ weights
  • She was followed around the gym by a customer who sulked and stared at her 
  • GymBox responded by saying men are ‘full of testosterone when working out’ 

A former Tory councillor was left outraged after a trendy gym chain tried to brush off a harassment complaint by saying men have ‘high testosterone levels’ while working out.

Elena Bunbury, 22, a former member of Holme Valley Parish Council, West Yorkshire, complained to GymBox after she and a friend were called ‘pathetic’ and mocked for using ‘light’ weights by a male gym-goer in the Stratford, east London, branch two weeks ago. 

Miss Bunbury, who now works for the Conservative party, outlined the issues in emails to GymBox. 

However she was left disappointed when an employee replied to say they had ‘never had similar issues’ and that it was simply down to testosterone levels.

Elena Bunbury, 22, pictured, a former Tory member of Holme Valley Parish Council, West Yorkshire, complained to GymBox after she and a friend were called ‘pathetic’ and mocked for using ‘light’ weights by a male gym-goer in the Stratford, east London, branch 

Miss Bunbury, pictured in an Instagram snap, outlined the issues in emails to GymBox. However she was left disappointed when an employee replied to say they had ‘never had similar issues’ and that it was simply down to testosterone levels 

 Miss Bunbury tweeted the inadequate response with the above caption blasting GymBox for justifying the other member’s aggressive behaviour. The tweet garnered widespread attention

Miss Bunbury tweeted the inadequate response, blasting GymBox for justifying the other member’s aggressive behaviour. 

The tweet was met with messages of support from followers, with one tweeting: ‘Some very warped attitudes behind the response. Educate the man, he clearly needs it.’

Another added: ‘This staff member of @GYMBOXofficial should be invited to take a course in equality (and customer service) rather than be sacked, as others are calling for.’

A third wrote: ‘Awful. Cancel your memberships, no-one should have to deal with that.’  


Speaking to FEMAIL about the gym incident, Elena explained that she sent the original email outlining the gym-goer’s behaviour, pictured, shortly after the event earlier this month

After Elena sent a follow-up message two weeks later, an unnamed GymBox employee responded with this email with the ‘testosterone’ line that was shared on Twitter


Elena responded to the email with this message accusing the employee of ‘turning a blind eye’ 

Elena made headlines last year after a viral appearance on Question Time and received death threats and sexist abuse due to her pro-Brexit stance. 

In an act of defiance, she posted two photos of herself wearing bikinis with a message to the trolls labelling her a ‘stupid s**t’.

Speaking to FEMAIL about the gym incident, Elena explained that she sent the original email outlining the gym-goer’s behaviour shortly after the event and sent a follow-up message two weeks later when she didn’t receive a response. 

It was then the unnamed employee sent Elena the message that she shared on Twitter.  

The tweet was hundreds of responses and as many urged Elena to cancel her membership

‘I thought Gymbox’s response was a bit mad,’ she said. ‘The idea of high testosterone changing behaviour is just crazy, it’s like the male equivalent on saying a woman is moody because she’s on her period.’

GymBox contacted Elena over Twitter after spotting the tweet before sending a second email, seen by MailOnline, in which a manager said the member of staff who had sent the original email would receive further training. 

The manager added the gym-goer involved would also be spoken to.  

However Elena is planning on leaving the gym, where she has a £70-a-month membership. 

She said: ‘I’ve got a really good personal trainer there and I don’t want to leave him. I signed for a year long contract and I presume there will be costs if I try to leave.’ 

GymBox contacted Elena over Twitter after spotting the tweet and sent a second email in which a manager said the member of staff who had sent the original email would receive further training. Pictured, Elena in a holiday photo shared on Instagram

Elena is planning on leaving the gym, where she has a £70-a-month membership. Pictured, in a photo shared on Instagram 

A spokesperson from Gymbox told Femail: ‘We take any incidences of harassment in our gyms very seriously. 

‘Everyone should be able to enjoy our gyms without being made to feel uncomfortable, and we recognise that in this instance our response to this customer’s complaint has fallen short of what it should be. 

‘We expect all members, guests and staff to conduct themselves in a respectful manner and we will fully investigate this incident. 

‘We have also addressed with the team member involved her response to the complaint, and we will be retraining all our team members on how they handle a situation like this should it occur again.’ 

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