Luxury fitness companies SoulCycle and Equinox Fitness responded to calls for people boycotting their workout studios Wednesday after news surfaced that the owner of the two companies would be hosting a high-dollar fundraiser for President Donald Trump.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Stephen Ross, chairman and owner of Related Companies, the parent company of the two fitness chains, will be holding a fundraiser for Trump in the Hamptons with some tickets selling as high as $250,000.
The report sparked outrage among gymgoers upset with the owner’s ties to Trump, which prompted celebrities to weigh in and encourage a boycott.
“Hey @Equinox – what’s your policy for canceling memberships once a member finds out your owner is enabling racism and mass murder?” Billy Eichner wrote on Twitter.
Hey @Equinox – what’s your policy for canceling memberships once a member finds out your owner is enabling racism and mass murder?
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) August 7, 2019
“Sorry @soulcycle … you can’t peddle “inspiration” in your classes and have an owner funding hate and racism in the back room,” wrote Conrad Ricamora, an actor famous for his role as Oliver on ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder.”
Sorry @soulcycle … you can’t peddle “inspiration” in your classes and have an owner funding hate and racism in the back room. Byyyeeeeeeeeeee
Equinox, SoulCycle Owner to Host Trump Fundraiser in Hamptons https://t.co/4TdZhMvRuW
— conrad ricamora (@conradricamora) August 7, 2019
SoulCycle and Equinox both released statements saying the gyms have nothing to do with Ross’ fundraiser and consider Ross to be a “passive investor” of the companies.
“We want to let you know that Equinox and SoulCycle have nothing to do with the event and do not support it,” Equinox tweeted. “As is consistent with our policies, no company profits are used to fund politicians. … Mr. Ross is a passive investor and is not involved in the management of either business.”
— Equinox (@Equinox) August 7, 2019
The news caused “Equinox” to become the second-most trending topic in the United States on Twitter, with “#BoycottEquinox” and “#BoycottSoulCycle” trending along with it.
Ross, who also owns the Miami Dolphins and received criticism from players, released his own statement responding to the backlash.
“I always have been an active participant in the democratic process,” Ross said. “I have known Donald Trump for 40 years, and while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others and I have never been bashful about expressing my opinions.”
Statement from Stephen Ross: pic.twitter.com/nvn3pmAPVE
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) August 7, 2019