- Stephen Ross, who owns popular fitness brands SoulCycle and Equinox, issued a statement Wednesday after facing backlash for planning to host a fundraiser for President Donald Trump.
- Ross said in the statement that he had known 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.”
- Several celebrities expressed their disapproval Ross’ ties to Trump, including author, host and model Chrissy Teigen, comedian Billy Eichner, and actress Sophia Bush.
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Stephen Ross, who owns popular fitness brands SoulCycle and Equinox, issued a statement Wednesday after facing backlash for planning to host a fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
Several people announced that they were cancelling their SoulCycle and Equinox memberships after the news broke that Ross would host the Trump fundraiser in his home in the Hamptons, with tickets costing as much as $US100,000, The Washington Post reported.
“I always have been an active participant in the democratic process. While some prefer to sit outside of the process and criticise, I prefer to engage directly and support the things I deeply care about,” Ross said in a statement, per Miami Herald reporter Adam Beasley.
SoulCycle and Equinox also issued responses to the news of the fundraiser. Ross is the founder and chairman of Related Companies; its subsidiary Equinox Fitness operates the luxury fitness brands.
A note from our CEO pic.twitter.com/UwxBWR76B0
— SoulCycle (@soulcycle) August 7, 2019
— Equinox (@Equinox) August 7, 2019
Ross, who also owns the NFL team the Miami Dolphins, said in the statement that he has known 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 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.”
Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills expressed his frustration with Ross on Twitter, following The Post’s report, saying, “You can’t have a non-profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump.”
Stills was referring to RISE, a non-profit co-chaired by Ross; it’s mission statement reads, “We are a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations.”
Several celebrities also expressed their disapproval Ross’ ties to Trump, including model Chrissy Teigen, comedian Billy Eichner, and actress Sophia Bush.
everyone who cancels their equinox and soul cycle memberships, meet me at the library. bring weights
— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) August 7, 2019
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
— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) August 7, 2019
Ross continued to face backlash after issuing the statement.
“Stephen Ross-The owner of @soulcycle -says ‘he has always been an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion diversity and environmental sustainability’ but is hosting a fundraiser for Trump who stands against all those things,” media figure Soledad O’Brien tweeted. “Literally-a nonsensical statement from Ross.”