12th Street Gym Asks N.A. Poe to Remove Video Over Gay Sex Statements


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N.A. Poe likes to push buttons. And this time, the comedian, marijuana activist, former City Council-at-Large candidate and future state senate candidate has pushed the buttons of none other than 12th Street Gym, the popular-with-the-gays fitness emporium that has been a landmark of the neighborhood since long before anyone thought it would be catchier to call the area Midtown Village rather than the Gayborhood.

Poe’s repertoire of irreverence includes self-produced videos that poke fun at people, institutions and ideas. (This one from Wing Bowl is the best coverage of Wing Bowl we’ve ever seen.) And in his latest video, he hung out in the Gayborhood with HIV-positive gay rights (and marijuana) activist Jay Lassiter to talk about both causes.

Outside of Woody’s, Poe asks Lassiter if he’s ever had sex inside the dance club. “Not in the new millennium,” responds Lassiter. “But, you know, the 90s, they were pretty crazy.”

Then they move on to 12th Street Gym, where they light up joints on the street and smoke.

“Jay, this is probably the least seedy thing you’ve done outside or inside this place,” says Poe, referring to the gym.

“I’ve never been to 12th Street Gym and not basically had to take Amoxicillin afterwards,” responds Lassiter. “I think that’s pretty much why people come here.”

Well, 12th Street Gym is none too happy with the remarks. Poe published the video on Monday on YouTube. And on Tuesday afternoon, Poe got a friendly-enough missive from Eric Michael Sales, the publicist for the gym. “I’d like to request — on behalf of the owner and all of us here at 12th Street Gym — that the video be removed from YouTube or edited to not portray our facility in such [a] negative way,” wrote Sales. “I look forward to quickly resolving this issue.”

Naturally, Poe has no plan to delete or edit the video.

“I told him, ‘Sorry, dude, we’re on public property,'” says Poe, later telling me that he and Jay meant no harm.

“I know our blend of comedy and activism isn’t for everyone, and we mean no disrespect to the LGBTQ community,” he adds. “I consider myself a strong ally, and this project was designed to fight for everyone’s right to medical marijuana — in this case, people with HIV or AIDS. If it’s any solace, Jay and I actually popped in for a workout and a shower after we shot the video.”

Sales tells us that the gym has contacted YouTube asking that the video be removed, since Poe wasn’t willing to budge.

“I didn’t know how inflexible he was going to be,” says Sales. “It’s obviously not a very flattering video. We’re definitely not seedy. We’ve evolved over the years. There was an issue in the past, but changes have been made to both our appearance and our practices. And we’d love to be able to give people the opportunity to come in and see that for themselves, so we offer free trials.”