Steven Klein—Equinox
By Martha C. White
January 6, 2016

Gym ads with bare-chested models are usually no big deal, but the focus is usually well-toned pecs, not controversial social issues.

But Equinox brings the topic of breastfeeding in public front and center in its new campaign — literally. With the tag line “commit to something,” the series of seven photos aims for the provocative: MMA fighter Alan Jouban in front of a wall full of cheerleading trophies, Bianca Van Damme (Jean-Claude’s daughter) as a bra-bearing feminist activist — all depicting a character going all-in regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.

But it was the picture of actress Lydia Hearst sitting at a fancy white-tablecloth restaurant in red carpet-ready makeup and jewelry, with her shirt open and a baby on each breast, that ignited social media after the gym chain posted it January 5.

On its Facebook page, where Equinox posted the photo with the caption, “Table for one, dinner for three. #CommitToSomething,” it garnered almost 6,400 likes and almost 1,000 comments in just a day. Some were critical of the ad, while others applauded Equinox for bringing the topic of breastfeeding out in the open, so to speak.

Equinox waded into the social media fray, responding back to a number of the comments without apology. Replying to one Facebook user that wrote, “it’s inappropriate and disrespectful to other patrons to breastfeed AT the table. There’s a time and a place for everything,” the brand representative shot back, “Try explaining that to an infant.”

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