Patrons of a San Francisco gym had their treadmill rhythm upset last weekend when they glanced at a website under siege.
Fitness SF, a facility popular with the LGBT community with locations in SoMa and the Castro, had its web page hijacked by their former web developer, Frank Jonen.
Jonen claimed that the company still owed him money for work carried out on the site. He left a lengthy note on FitnessSF.com explaining his anger and airing grievances over the alleged nonpayment of fees.
“Dear Fitness SF customer, Fitness SF preferred to ignore our invoices instead of paying them. As a result this website is no longer operational. We regret any inconvenience this may cause for you as a customer of Fitness SF, however it is a necessary measure in getting what is rightfully ours,” Jonen wrote on the site.
Jonen’s letter remained posted until Saturday morning. He finished up the statement by questioning the company’s engagement with LGBT customers, given his own experiences.
“It’s time the truth got out on what they really are. Doesn’t it make you wonder what really drives their publicized ‘commitment’ to the LGBT community? Can somebody who thrives on betrayal in one side of their business be honest in another side?” he added.
Jonen did not reply to an email request from 429Magazine to further clarify his comments.
Fitness SF Director of Operations, Don Dickerson, outlined that the company wanted to move on from the incident. He defended the company’s interaction with the LGBT community when speaking to 429Magazine, specifying that people are aware of what Fitness SF is about and who they support.
An official statement released by the facility on Friday responded to Jonen’s accusation of failure to pay fees. It argued that the developer’s behavior equated to blackmail:
He missed numerous deadlines including our brand launch in September. In December, he voluntarily passed the incomplete and non functioning website to our new design firm. Now, Frank is attempting to portray himself as the victim when truly the victim is Fitness SF as he attempts to get paid for work he did not complete and has decided that blackmail is the way to accomplish that.