Hundreds of Queenslanders have shared their disgust over a public message board outside a Sunshine Coast gym that allegedly fat shames people into joining up.

Anytime Fitness Kawana is copping a lot of heat over a humorous sign staff placed outside that read: “Are you fat and ugly? Just be ugly.”

The gym franchise’s misguided attempt at humour has left a lot of noses out of joint, as people claim the messaging fat shames overweight locals into becoming members.

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‘SAVAGE AND HORRIBLE’

Debbie Peut told the Sunshine Coast Daily she was “horrified beyond explanation” when she saw the sign.

“How sad that the word fat continues to be used as an insult and a way to define people,” Ms Peut told the newspaper.

“Why is humiliating people funny?”

Many people agreed with her, arguing the sign was “savage” and “horrible”.

Another woman disagreed with the sign’s warning, saying: “Nope, I’m fat and gorgeous, and I’ll stay both, thanks.”

“This is horrible,” someone else added.

The gym officially opened in May last year and has been trying to boost membership numbers.

DON’T FAT SHAME US

Ms Peut said the move was a hurtful ploy by the gym to score free publicity.

“I can tell you that as a person who is not thin or classically beautiful that this gym is the last place I would set foot in, if in fact I chose to go to a gym to exercise,” she said.

“I wonder do they know that people can be ‘healthy and fit’ at any weight?”

She told the Sunshine Coast Daily health was “not dependent on a number on a set of scales”, and the gym would never understand the struggles overweight people faced.

“Being shamed about it is a sure-fire way to include anxiety, depression and eating disorders to the list of problems,” Ms Peut said.

“ … eating disorders are the single largest killer of our younger generation in Australia today, yet people think it is funny to put signs like this up?”

THE GYM RESPONDS

While the gym has not responded to a request by news.com.au for comment, it did take to its Facebook page this morning to gauge members’ feelings on the matter.

Posting a clip from the Today Show, the gym’s staff asked its members: “Did we go too far?!? What are your thoughts?”

The question received several messages, congratulating the team on their “free publicity” stunt.

“Great Aussie humour and great reaction, free advertising, well done,” one man wrote.

Another gym member said he thought the message was “hilarious”.

“And I have to lose some kilos, it brought me here lol,” he wrote.

Another supporter said just one word came to mind when he thought of the gym’s signage: “Brilliant”.

Others also saw the humour intended in the message board.

Some dubbed it the “sign of the year”, claiming its message was spot on and absolutely hilarious.

Others described the joke as “Aussie humour at its best”, while another man complained people needed to stop being so precious.

One woman, who claimed to be overweight, said she loved the sign.

“I am overweight and nothing special, it’s brilliant and is honestly tempting,” she wrote.

Another man agreed, asking: “When did we start getting so thin skinned and offended by everything? Calm down and go for a walk!”

Hundreds of others applauded the person who came up with the idea, saying it was “genius”.

“Clever! And now they’re getting free advertising,” one woman commented.

Continue the conversation @Rhi_lani or email rhian.deutrom@news.com.au

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