PROVO A coalition of anti-pornography organizations changed Saturday's protest into a "thank-you rally" when they found out the Gold's Gym owners already planned to change the gym's music videos and television programming statewide.
"(The gym owners) did this out of their own free will," said Aaron Byland, president of one student-run group. "They understand by being decent they are going to get patrons from families. I also think they did it out of the goodness of their own hearts."
The would-be protesters requested the gym's management revamp what some called sexually explicit programming and asked to put blinds on the aerobic room's window during the dirty-dancing hip-hop class. Ten days ago the coalition gave Gold's Gym a petition with more than 1,000 signatures, from gymgoers and community members, in support of the changes.
"Women who signed the petition actually came up to us and said they would appreciate if Gold's respected their privacy as they are doing their workout because it was attracting a lot of male attention," said Jesse Yaffe, a member of Stand for Decency.
Yaffe said the groups could have stayed quiet but they wanted to exercise their First Amendment rights and "remind Utahns that silence is acceptance."
During the rally which ran from 10 to noon House Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, paid a visit. Daw asked for their help on a bill unconnected to the rally that would protect minors from Internet pedophiles. While holding a sign labeled "thank you Golds," he congratulated the coalition on its efforts.
"It's wonderful because they did it all themselves," Daw said. "All I can do is pat them on the back."
Apparently owners of Gold's Gym had looked into making changes before they heard from their patrons and the community, but wouldn't say when they began adjustments.
"It was a situation where the owners looked into what was playing on the networks and said, 'Hey, we can do a better job reflecting our own values and the values of the community,"' said Kirk Livingston, Gold's director of operations.