San Franciscans who patronize Soul Cycle and Equinox gyms are facing a moral quandary over their fitness choices this week after it was revealed that Equinox Fitness owner Stephen Ross was hosting a high-ticket fundraiser for President Trump in the Hamptons.
The Washington Post first reported on the fundraiser, one of two that are happening this weekend in the Hamptons, which is a luncheon with seats starting at $100,000 hosted by Ross and his wife. As news spread Wednesday about Ross's investment in Equinox Fitness, which also owns the Soul Cycle and Blink Fitness brands, social media was flooded with calls for boycotts, and people penning emails to the company canceling memberships.
Ross is a New York-based real estate developer who also owns the Miami Dolphins.
Activists showed up outside the Soul Cycle locations in the Castro and Marina districts on Wednesday, and so did local news cameras. ABC 7 reported from both locations, showing one activist in the Marina shouting "SoulCyclers support kids in cages!"
Soul Cycle tweeted on Wednesday that it "in no way endorses" Ross's fundraiser and saying that Ross is merely a "passive investor" in the company.
A note from our CEO pic.twitter.com/UwxBWR76B0— SoulCycle (@soulcycle) August 7, 2019
Nevertheless, as ABC News reports, celebrities including Chrissy Teigen and Billy Eichner tweeted about canceling their memberships, with Eichner referring to Ross and his Republican ilk as "monsters." Referring to Equinox's popularity with gay men, Eichner says, "this one feels particularly hypocritical and shameful."
There are a handful of billionaires who own everything and many support Trump. Practically speaking, it’s probably impossible to completely avoid them. But considering @Equinox’s clientele and how they’ve pandered to us, this one feels particularly hypocritical and shameful.— billy eichner (@billyeichner) August 7, 2019
Ross issued a statement of his own saying, "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. I have been, and will continue to be, 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."