Equinox And SoulCycle Customers Are Boycotting Over A Trump Fundraiser The Owner Is Hosting
"It's very unsettling to know that my money is being used to support a white supremacist. I will be cancelling my membership," one member wrote in an Equinox app forum.
Equinox and SoulCycle customers are boycotting the high-end gyms and studios after learning that owner Stephen Ross plans to host a fundraiser for President Donald Trump's reelection campaign.
Ross, who is the chair of the company that owns both fitness brands, is hosting the lavish fundraiser at his Hamptons mansion on Friday, the Washington Post first reported.
Donors will reportedly shell out between $5,600 and $250,000 to attend the event, with some of the highest-paying donors getting greater access to talk to and take photos with Trump.
In a joint statement Wednesday, Equinox and SoulCycle said they don't have "anything to do with the event later this week and do not support it."
"As is consistent with our policies, no company profits are used to fund politicians. We are committed to all our members and the communities we live in. We believe in tolerance and equality, and will always stay true to those values," the statement added. "Mr. Ross is a passive investor and is not involved in the management of either business."
Ross is also a real estate magnate known for developing the $25 billion Hudson Yards project in New York City. He also owns the Miami Dolphins and is a major investor in a wide swath of companies, including Momofuku, &pizza, and Resy.
After news of the fundraising event came out on Wednesday, Equinox and SoulCycle customers expressed their vehement disapproval for Ross's fundraiser, with many saying they would cancel their memberships and stop attending classes.
Ross released a statement Wednesday evening, saying he believed in racial equality, and diversity. His support of the Trump campaign came from his interest in job growth and the economy, he added.
"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," he said.
But in forums on the Equinox app, tons of members spoke out against Ross and said their farewells to the gym.
One member shared the famous photo of a 2-year-old immigrant girl crying as her mother was searched at the border, superimposed with the words "IT'S NOT FITNESS. IT'S HATE."
"It's very unsettling to know that my money is being used to support a white supremacist," another member wrote. "I will be canceling my membership."
"Membership also cancelled once year is done. Cannot walk into the club knowing what my money is bleeding into," another wrote, along with an emoji of a nauseated face.
Still, others didn't see the point of canceling their membership.
"If you think corporations have values then you are very naive," one person wrote. "If you knew the affiliation of every corporate owner in America you would probably never buy anything again. It's certainly your right to cancel over the owner's political views but don't think you are contributing to border separations if you don't."
Other members posted on Instagram that they were canceling their memberships and switching gyms.
"Here's hoping that Crunch, Gold's, 24-Hour Fitness, and others have some promos to take your money out of the hands of this racist asshole," said a viral image, which was reposted by many people.
Jessie Lopez-Garay, an Equinox member since 2009, told BuzzFeed News that Ross's support of Trump was a "slap in the face" to him personally as a gay man of color.
"I understand Mr. Ross has every right to support whomever he wants. However, WE also have the right to speak up and to vote with our wallets," Lopez-Garay said in an Instagram DM. "This President represents hate. I don’t want my money to further enrich anyone who supports hate."
Many celebrities who belong to the gym are also speaking out.
Comedian and Lion King star Billy Eichner tagged Equinox on Twitter, asking about its "policy for canceling memberships once a member finds out [its] owner is enabling racism and mass murder."
Wilson Cruz, of My So-Called Life and Star Trek: Discovery fame, made a petition calling for the gym to "end its support of Donald Trump."
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Cruz said he felt "disgusted and betrayed by a company that sold itself as an ally to people of color and the LGBTQ community."
Equinox has directly advertised to LGBTQ customers, frequently with campaigns during Pride Month. Cruz said the brand has "gone out of its way to celebrate Pride when it was financially convenient for them."
"To turn around and now throw a fundraiser for Trump and his administration, with their policies that have advocated against LGBTQ people, immigrants, and people of color, that’s a direct betrayal to all of us," he added.
Cruz is currently waiting to decide what to do with his membership based on how the company responds.
"I have my finger on the membership button, but I’d like to hear something come from the company itself first," he said.
Teen Wolf actor Keahu Kahuanui canceled his Equinox membership, according to a screenshot of an email he tweeted.
"As a firm believer in spending (or not spending) one's money where it counts and in light of this news, I'm dropping my Equinox membership as of today. I encourage you to do the same," Kahuanui tweeted.
How to Get Away With Murder actor Conrad Ricamora said "Byyyeeeeeeeeeee" to SoulCycle based on the Trump fundraiser.
"Sorry @soulcycle ... you can’t peddle 'inspiration' in your classes and have an owner funding hate and racism in the back room," Ricamora tweeted.