Celebrities and activists are boycotting Equinox and SoulCycle fitness chains after it was reported their billionaire owner Stephen Ross was planning to host a fundraiser for Donald Trump.
The upscale gym and indoor cycling gyms, whose clients have included Hollywood celebrities and even Michelle Obama, faced backlash after the Washington Post reported Wednesday that Ross, who is chairman of the brands’ parent, Related Companies, will host an event for Trump supporters at his home on Friday.
“Hey @Equinox – what’s your policy for canceling memberships once a member finds out your owner is enabling racism and mass murder?” tweeted Billy Eichner, of Billy on the Street fame. The comedian then followed up his post with another tweet saying he cancelled his years-long membership.
“Just contacted @Equinox to cancel my membership after many years,” Eichner wrote. “Money talks, especially with these monsters.”
Celebrity Chrissy Teigen also chimed in suggesting to her Twitter followers that “if you’re a member of Equinox perhaps it is time to say peace(out)-inox.”
the gym is my personal hell but if you’re a member of Equinox perhaps it is time to say peace(out)-inox ayyyyy I’m still sick yes but fuck equinox https://t.co/SJBsBNXT8Q
Both Equinox and SoulCycle tried to distance themselves from the fundraiser.
“We want to let you know that Equinox and SoulCycle have nothing to do with the event and do not support it,” Equinox said on Twitter. “As is consistent with our policies, no company profits are used to fund politicians.”
This Friday the Soul Cycle and Equinox Fitness chairman is throwing a fundraising lunch for Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign. Tickets are $100,000 each. Adding to the list. https://t.co/pHNr8ZeG5m #GrabYourWallet
The statement posted by SoulCycle and signed by its CEO, Melanie Whelan, said the firm believes in “diversity, inclusion, and equality.”
Related Companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment or confirm the fundraiser. But in a statement, Ross said he has known Trump for 40 years and that he has “never been bashful about expressing” opinions with him.
Ross said he is “an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education and environmental sustainability, and I have and will continue to support leaders on both sides of the aisle to address these challenges.”
Celebrity Fitness: Equinox, SoulCycle on boycott list
Some social media users took issue with the brands casting Ross as “a passive investor” who “is not involved in the management” of the companies, since he is the chairman of the board of directors of Equinox Holdings, and Related owns both companies.
Shannon Coulter, founder of the #GrabYourWallet movement, which urges Americans to stop shopping at companies connected with Trump, tweeted that she was adding SoulCycle and Equinox to the boycott list.
A Change.org petition questioned Equinox’s commitment to being a “safe space” for gay and lesbian customers and demanded the company end its support of Trump. It quickly gathered more than 3,100 signatures.
Ross, who also owns the Miami Dolphins was criticized by the NFL team’s wide receiver Kenny Stills.
“You can’t have a non profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump,” he tweeted in a post that included a copy of the mission statement on the website of Ross’s non-profit initiative RISE, which says that it “educa