TikTok inside West Hartford gym sparks conversation about your privacy

A West Hartford gym is responding after a fitness influencer called them out on TikTok. The video is raising questions about gym privacy and gym etiquette.
Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 6:54 PM EDT
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WEST HARTFORD Conn. (WFSB) - A West Hartford gym is responding after a fitness influencer called them out on TikTok. The video is raising questions about gym privacy and gym etiquette.

The video by influencer, ‘Joey Swoll’, has been viewed more than 1.7 million times. In the video, ‘Joey Swoll’ is responding to a woman who filmed someone else working out at the Edge Fitness in West Hartford.

The I-Team talked to members of the Edge Fitness in West Hartford to get their reaction.

We ran into Tyler Rivera, who says he brings his camera pretty much everywhere. He even asked to vlog the interview.

“I think it’s just the time we live in now. People are just recording,” said Rivera.

Rivera also sometimes brings his camera into the gym. He posts progress videos on his ‘transformationtyler’ Instagram account.

“I think documenting your process or just sharing positive stories is so good for this day in age,” said Rivera.

If you search “fitness” on Instagram or TikTok, you’ll find thousands of others doing the same. However, one video posted to TikTok about the Edge Fitness in West Hartford is getting the wrong kind of attention.

That’s because the person was focusing her camera on someone else. After “Joey Swoll”'s video calling her a “toxic young woman”, the woman’s account was turned to private. Swoll tells the woman to “learn to respect people” and “leave others alone”. Swoll says the Edge Fitness should kick her out of the gym.

Edge Fitness Clubs denied the I-Team’s request for an interview. A spokesperson sent the same statement that was shared on Instagram. It reads:

“As per our policy:

For the overall enjoyment of others, cell phones may not be used for telephone calls while on the workout floor or during classes. Cell phone use of any kind is not permitted while on a piece of equipment or in the locker rooms. Taking pictures or videos of other members without their direct consent is strictly prohibited and may result in loss of membership privileges. Privacy considerations limit what information we can disclose, The Edge Fitness Clubs has taken steps to ensure that this does not repeat itself.”

Eyewitness news legal expert Eric Parker says it’d be very difficult in Connecticut to have a successful civil or criminal case when it comes to someone filming you in a gym.

“You’re out on display for the public to see when you’re working out. You take the risk that maybe someone is taking a video and you may end up in a shot,” said Parker.

Parker says for a case to criminal the video either has to be taken with malice or there has to be some kind of sexual intent. When it comes to a civil case, there is no statute in Connecticut that specifically addresses it. A case would have to fall under the general right of privacy. Parker says it’d be difficult to prove you have a right to privacy in an open gym. The locker room would be a different story.

If you think you may have a case, Parker suggests filing a police report.

“Make a police report, and the police will look at it and see if it meets that criteria, but I think to actually be successful and have a case that a prosecutor would want to prosecute, it would be pretty difficult.” said Parker.

Parker suggests talking with your gym directly.

“If you’re uncomfortable being in the background of some social media influencer’s video ask the gym, what are their policies? Do they have a policy that protects you from that kind of stuff? Because the law really doesn’t give you a lot to go with,” said Parker.

For Rivera, it’s about more than what is legal. It’s about what is right.

“If you’re bringing a camera to show your growth. It should be focused on your growth. It shouldn’t be focused on anything else besides that,” said Rivera. “I don’t think you should be focused on recording somebody else, especially if it’s outside of their consent.”