The man behind SoulCycle and Equinox is planning a bougie, expensive fundraiser for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in the Hamptons this weekend. And, as you can imagine: People. Are. Pissed.
Stephen Ross, chairman and founder of Related Companies, which is responsible for Equinox Fitness Clubs (which owns Equinox and SoulCycle), is hosting a soiree for Trump where people will pay $250,000 to partake in a “roundtable discussion” with him or $100,000 for lunch and a photo op with the president, The Washington Post reported Tuesday night.
Ross is the owner or developer of several well-known staples such as the Time Warner Center, Pure Yoga, and Blink Fitness — but it’s the members of the seemingly forward-thinking fitness chains Equinox and SoulCycle who are feeling especially indignant. Both chains seem to promote values that would appeal to more liberal-leaning folks. Fast Company pointed out that the companies both celebrate pride month, and give to charities such as House Lives Matter, which helps marginalized gender and sexual minorities.
I am a freak who loves @soulcycle. it genuinely makes me feel good and excited about my body and my health. that being said, the loser owner supports trump and I didn’t know that! so I will no longer take classes there. sharing bc I had no idea & maybe u didn’t either! fuck that.— Mitra Jouhari (@tweetrajouhari) August 7, 2019
NBC News political analyst Elise Jordan noted that a boycott by women would completely “crush” SoulCycle’s business, which stereotypically comes from women in cities who can pay $34 per class along with an additional cost for shoe rentals.
Some people are pointing out that the former first lady Michelle Obama was a known fan of SoulCycle, and feeling like this move from Ross is an utter betrayal. (In 2016, a story was published that said Obama came to a class with her Secret Service detail.)
A spokesperson for Equinox told Refinery29: "Neither Equinox nor SoulCycle 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. Mr. Ross is a passive investor and is not involved in the management of either business.”
SoulCycle and Equinox both posted their statements on the matter to their social media accounts, and people completely ravaged the comments section. "As a member for almost 5 years, I am basically a passive investor in Equinox," one member wrote on Equinox's post. "As such I chose today to cancel my membership because I will not support a company that in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM is associated with ANYONE who supports the racist and toxic rhetoric of Donald Trump."
Clearly, people are irate — and no matter how you spin it, it’s clear this news is bad for business.