Stephen Ross, chairman of real estate company Related Companies, is facing backlash for hosting a fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s reelection at Ross’ home in the Hamptons on Friday.
Related Companies owns luxury fitness club Equinox Fitness, the parent company to fitness clubs PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness and SoulCycle. Ross is also the owner of the Miami Dolphins, the Hard Rock Stadium, the Time Warner Center and Hudson Yards.
According to the Washington Post, tickets for the fundraiser range from $100,000 to $250,000.
News of the fundraiser sparked outrage on social media with many calling for a boycott of Equinox and SoulCycle. Both fitness clubs boast a heavy LGBTQ clientele base.
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
— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) August 7, 2019
oh and fuck soulcycle but I thought that way before this anyhow— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) August 7, 2019
Actor Wilson Cruz started a Change.org petition calling on Equinox to demand Ross cancel the fundraiser.
“We joined this gym because we believed it shared our values. We believed it was a safe space for people like us. We believed that we were supporting a company that was inclusive, accepting and celebrating our diversity and supporting our physical and mental health as a community,” Cruz writes. “You have a MORAL obligation to be all of those things for your members. Supporting this administration and the myriad of ways in which it undermines and endangers members of our communities is UNACCEPTABLE and if this fundraiser indeed does take place we will be looking for another gym to give our money to and we will be calling on our networks of LGBTQ and POC friends to do the same. “
Equinox and SoulCycle released statements saying that they do not endorse political fundraisers.
A note from our CEO pic.twitter.com/UwxBWR76B0— SoulCycle (@soulcycle) August 7, 2019
Ross issued his own statement to Miami Herald reporter Adam Beasley saying that he has known Trump for 40 years and “while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others.”
“I always have been an active participant in the democratic process. While some prefer to sit outside of the process and criticize, I prefer to engage directly and support the things I deeply care about,” Ross said in a statement.