Equinox, SoulCycle hit with protests, nationwide membership cancellations over Trump fundraiser

Henrietta Brewer
August 11, 2019

In a newly released interview, real estate magnate Stephen Ross defends President Donald Trump as a "strong leader" who is "not a insane conservative".

As chairman of Related Companies, Ross has built high-profile projects like Hudson Yards, a $25 billion development in Manhattan's West Side that is the most expensive in US history. The agitators also set up an Instagram account to rally staff to the cause. Just a few hours later, Chang took to his podcast The Dave Chang Show to issue a six-minute-long rebuke to Ross and Trump.

Ross has defended the fundraiser.

Ross, who also owns the Miami Dolphins, a National Football League team, was criticized by the team's wide receiver Kenny Stills.

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. Arguments that membership fees are used to indirectly fund Trump's campaign have driven the call to boycott Equinox.

Stephen Ross is a tax attorney turned real estate developer who invested in affordable housing, then sold them to wealthy investors as tax shelters. We believe in tolerance and equality, and will always stay true to those values.

Several senior members of the administration, party and campaign are scheduled to appear, as are some Trump family members, according to invitations obtained by The Post. We believed it was a safe space for people like us.

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".

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

We know Ross is not out there handing out clean towels to members, but he is company chairman and profits from Equinox and SoulCycle. Tickets for that event are priced at $5,600 per couple to $35,000 per couple.

Ross, for his part, says that "as an active participant in the democratic process", he doesn't plan on canceling the fundraiser.

Both Equinox and SoulCycle responded to the criticism on social media by saying that neither one endorses the political fundraising, adding that Ross is a "passive investor" who does not manage their business.

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