Equinox, SoulCycle Face Boycott Calls Over Owner’s Trump Support

Stephen Ross
Stephen Ross, the founder and chairman of The Related Companies, the owner of Equinox Holdings, appeared at the opening of the Hudson Yards' development in New York City in March 2019.(Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein / Getty Images.)

Equinox and SoulCycle are facing boycott calls after the Washington Post reported that one of the company’s owners will be hosting a fundraiser for President Donald Trump.

Equinox Holdings Co., New York, owns Equinox, SoulCycle, Blink and Pure Yoga. The Related Companies, which is led by its founder and chairman Stephen Ross, owns Equinox Holdings. Ross is hosting an Aug. 9 Trump fundraiser at which attendees can pay $100,000 for lunch and a photo opportunity with the president or $250,000 to attend a roundtable discussion, according to the Washington Post.

Several celebrities, including comedian Billy Eichner, model Chrissy Teigen and actress Sophia Bush have called for people to cancel their memberships at Equinox and SoulCycle, stating that Ross’ support of the president does not coincide with the values that Equinox and SoulCycle have espoused. Blink Fitness and Pure Yoga have not been named as much in the boycott calls.  

Equinox has partnered with the House Ballroom community (an organization for LGBTQ people of color), SoulCycle has hosted Pride Rides and Blink Fitness celebrated Pride Month earlier this summer by asking members to share their Pride stories on Instagram.  

The Advocate magazine, which supports the LGBTQ community, noted the following:

“Equinox has sold itself frequently as an LGBTQ allypartnering with the House Ballroom community and supporting charities like House Lives Matter to assist marginalized sexual and gender minorities.

“But Trump has his own history with the LGBTQ community that includes stripping Obama-era protections in schools for trans youth and banning transgender troops from military service. The president publicly came out against the Equality Act and same-sex marriage, amid other outwardly hostile stances toward the LGBTQ community.

“Granted, Trump also promised to bring about an end to the AIDS crisis (but fired his entire HIV/AIDS panel without explanation before rebuilding a new committee) and opposed the mass murder of LGBTQ individuals in a speech at the Republican National Convention (before scrubbing all mention of LGBTQ people from the White House website).”

An Equinox spokesperson sent this statement to Club Industry:

“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 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.”

However, the spokesperson did not respond to a question about how many cancellations the brands have received since the boycott calls.

Both brands also have posted statements on their social media accounts. SoulCycle’s statement reiterates that SoulCycle does not endorse the political fundraising event and does not use company profits to fund politicians. The tweet also says, in part:

“We’ll always stay true to our values and [are] committed to our community. We know who we are and we know what we believe in, and nothing will ever change that.”

Ross released this statement:

“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," Ross said. "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."

Ross also owns the Miami Dolphins, and The Related Companies owns real estate properties such as the Hudson Yards where Equinox opened its first hotel, Equinox Hotel, in July.


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