PureGym boycott 'threatened by thousands' after CEO'S comments on BBC Question Time

Humphrey Cobbold appeared on BBC Question Time
Humphrey Cobbold appeared on BBC Question Time -Credit:BBC

PureGym customers have threatened to "boycott" the company after its CEO, Humphrey Cobbold, made remarks suggesting he supported selling arms to Israel.

The businessman was a panelist on BBC Question Time this week and told the audience in Stoke-on-Trent: "I think we should support, in general, the Israeli government in being able to defend themselves."

Cobbold's comments were met with contempt from pro-Palestine supporters and "#BoycottPureGym" has been trending on X, formly Twitter, in response. Many have said they have cancelled their memberships.

Cobbold' said he was "deeply concerned" about Israel’s bombardment in Gaza, which has killed 34,000 people, but the UK should not forget the orginal cause of Israel's attack after Hamas killed more than 1,400 and took 252 hostage on October 7.

Host Fiona Bruce asked him whether the UK government should stop supplying weapons to Israel, Cobbold 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. I mean a couple of points on that.

'I certainly think any weapons that are required for defence and for the Iron Dome, I see no reason why we wouldn't do that.

'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.

'On the broader question, we send very little in terms of armaments to Israel in reality. It's the Americans that do that.

'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 prescribed 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.

'And that's absolutely not the fault of the Palestinian people in general. They deserve more protection than they're getting I agree with that but we must remember those facts.'

The 59-year-old Kenya-born Cambridge graduate went on to express his concern about the IDF's operations in Gaza. He added: "And I'm deeply concerned about what is happening in Gaza, what we see on our screens every night, and the risks around Rafah."

Despite conceding it would be "sensible" for the US to stop sending the IDF "big bombs", Mr Cobbold was keen to press home that "Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organisation that has insisted on deciding to eradicate Jews and eradicate Israel."

Following the appearance, many took to social media in concern.

5Pillars editor Roshan M Salih wrote: "Anyone with a Pure Gym membership, you know what to do. #BoycottPureGym ".

Another said: "A slight inconvenience having to find a new gym after two years but well worth it if it means not supporting a company like this @PureGym #BoycottPureGym ".

While a third sniped: "I’m cancelling my pure gym membership after seeing this. Don’t need to go to a gym owned by a Zionist ally! The reality is clear all over the news and from on the ground social media accounts. Anyone who speaks otherwise is just part of the genocidal cult".

PureGym is the one the bugegst gym brands in the UK with 35 in Scotland.

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