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Gays boycotting Equinox and SoulCycle over investor’s Trump fundraiser

Vic Parsons August 8, 2019

A SoulCycle instructor in London during Pride month. (David M. Benett/Getty Images for SoulCycle)

News of a Republican fundraiser to be held by a business mogul in aid of Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has sparked immediate calls for a boycott of two fitness companies.

Stephen Ross, a real estate mogul and private investor, is the chairman of Related Companies, the parent company of fitness brands SoulCycle and Equinox.

Ross, who is worth nearly $10bn, is hosting a fundraiser for Trump on Friday (August 9) at his mansion in The Hamptons, according to the Washington Post.

LGBT+ customers of Equinox and SoulCycle are boycotting the companies and have begun cancelling their memberships.

A petition started by gay Star Trek: Discovery actor Wilson Cruz has also been launched, demanding that Equinox pressure Ross to end the Trump fundraiser.

“We joined this gym because we believed it shared our values,” Cruz stated in the petition, which currently has over 2,400 signatures.

“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 said.

Chrissy Teigen tweeted, “Everyone who cancels their equinox and soul cycle memberships, meet me at the library. bring weights.”

Ticket prices for the fundraiser start at $100,000 for lunch and a photo with the US president and go up to $250,000 for a package that includes a roundtable discussion with Trump.

“Time to boycott Equinox and SoulCycle,” wrote one Twitter user.

Others pointed out that Ross also has interests in other businesses, including American football team the Miami Dolphins.

SoulCycle and Equinox respond to boycott

Melanie Whelan, SoulCycle’s CEO, responded to news of the boycott with a public statement.

Whelan said, “SoulCycle in no way endorses the political fundraising event being held later in the week. SoulCycle has nothing to do with the event and does not support it.”

“Mr Ross is a passive investor and is not involved in the management of SoulCycle,” she added.

In a statement to The Advocate, a spokesperson for Equinox and SoulCycle said, “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.”

More: Donald Trump, equinox, soulcycle, stephen ross

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