Equinox, SoulCycle respond to concerns over owner's elite Trump fundraiser in Hamptons

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Thursday, August 8, 2019
Equinox, SoulCycle respond to concerns over owner's Trump fundraiser
Josh Einiger reports on the concerns over a fundraiser being held by Stephen Ross for President Trump.

NEW YORK -- The Washington Post reported Monday that real estate developer Stephen Ross, the owner of SoulCycle and the Equinox gym chain, and the chairman of the real estate firm Related -- is set to hold a fundraiser for President Trump in the Hamptons this weekend.

The fact that the owner of popular upscale New York City gyms is fundraising for Trump has several on social media using the hashtag #BoycottEquinox and vowing to cancel their memberships.

The real estate tycoon has scheduled a Friday luncheon at his Southampton home, the Post reported. Tickets are priced at $100,000 for a photo opportunity and lunch -- and at $250,000 for a package that includes a roundtable discussion.

Money raised will benefit Trump Victory, which benefits the president's 2020 campaign and the Republican National Committee.

A reception is scheduled to follow the lunch at the 17,000-square-foot Bridgehampton estate of real estate developer Joe Farrell.

The Betches, a sassy digital media outlet popular with millennial women, flagged the news in an email sent to subscribers Wednesday.

"I regret to inform you that the massive amounts of money you spend thinking it would go toward improving your health ... is also going to Trump," they wrote.

As the day progressed, Equinox became a trending topic on Google and Twitter.

Ross has his hands dipped in other ventures aside from the boutique fitness business. He's is the owner of the Miami Dolphins, and Related has brand partnerships with several companies familiar to New Yorkers, including Resy, Blink Fitness, Milk Bar, Momofuku, and &pizza.

Related is also behind Manhattan's new Hudson Yards development.

Equinox and SoulCycle released a joint statement in response to concerns raised by members:

We want to let you know that Equinox and SoulCycle have nothing to do with the event 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. Mr. Ross is a passive investor and is not involved in the management of either business.

Ross issued the following statement:

"I always 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. 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 started my business with nothing and a reason for my engagement with our leaders is my deep concern for creating jobs and growing our country's economy. 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."


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