Russell Bateman’s Celebrity Fitness Group, SBC, Called Out For Old-School Racism

Skinny Bitch Collective proved to be morally as problematic as its moniker.

Skinny Bitch Collective Kenya

by Contributor |
Updated on

Celebrity trainer Russell Bateman's workout group, SBC (Skinny Bitch Collective) has been called-out by fashion's unelected watchdogs @dietprada for using Kenyan locals as 'props'.

The personal trainer who has worked with Ellie Goulding and Suki Waterhouse has since deleted his Instagram account after videos and images promoting a fitness retreat in Kenya were deemed racist. It was said that London-based SBC and 'the white male mastermind behind the invite-only fitness collective' disrespected 'ancestral lands of indigenous Maasai tribe' and used locals as 'not only a backdrop but as literal props in their fitness routines'. Images of slim caucasian women hip-dipping on Maasai cloth and posing between two people of colour sparked a conversation about modern-day colonialism.

Since Monday, SBC's Instagram and Twitter have been disabled and the website has been 'down for maintenance'. Before taking down accounts the founder, Bateman, posted an apology on Instagram, writing: 'The location of the retreat was within the ancestral lands of the indigenous Maasai tribe. Since the retreat was taking place within their territory, we were required to be accompanied by members of the tribe at all times.

'Our intention was to promote a cross-cultural exchange through shared experiences and to highlight the beauty of Kenya and it’s (sic) indigenous peoples. However, having taken a step back, we accept and understand that our content fell well short of this aim and lacked appropriate cultural sensitivity by reinforcing colonial era depictions of people of colour.'

Bateman's philosophy was simple, that sweat and sex alongside a balanced diet would result in the looks of the slim, ponytailed caucasian women that littered the collective's Instagram page. He once told Grazia that SBC is quite simply: 'Preaching sex, sleep and squatting and fusing newwave strength and metabolic conditioning with signature SBC Primal movements. An elite crop of British supermodels - Suki Waterhouse, Daisy Lowe amongst others - swear by it and are training alongside the next generation of female icons.'

Diet Prada's two posts highlighting the practices at Skinny Bitch Collective's Kenya retreat have been met by outrage with users commenting 'Disgusting', 'gross' and 'yikes'. Model Gigi Hadid commented, 'what. the fuck!? shameful.' while her sister Bella Hadid added, 'this actually makes me sick to my stomach.'

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