The owner of a Sunderland fitness organisation has defended himself after an advertisement promising to “make you look better naked” sparked fury online.
The Skinnypigs exercise class banner was placed on the Territorial Army Centre building in Tynemouth, with a number of people speaking of their anger at it on Twitter.
Some have objected to the banner being placed close to King’s Priory School, which is in the area.
But Skinnypigs owner Jonathan Hair has told the Echo that he is shocked at the reaction, arguging that the idea is “tongue in cheek”.
Jonathan, of South Hylton in Sunderland, who has been involved in Twitter spats with a number of people since criticism of the advert was first aired, said: “I would’ve understood if any of this was constructive criticism but none of it was.
“The tweets I’ve read say the banner is “disgusting” and shameful”, but the advert is tongue in cheek.
“I’ve helped over 100,000 women with their confidence since I started Skinnypigs seven years ago but I’ve been hounded by a lynch mob it feels like.
“I’ve never had a problem with this kind of thing before but it seems as if one person has taken issue and it’s ignited something.”
Skinnypigs employs about 50 people to carry out fitness sessions at various locations in the North East.
Mr Hair added that similar adverts are often designed to poke fun and not be taken seriously.
“I just think it is a massive overreaction, but this seems to be the trend at the minute,” he said.
“Everyone seems to be want their own slice of viral fame.”