Billionaire Trump Supporter Stephen Ross Can’t Have It Both WaysThe Miami Dolphins owner’s decision to host a re-election fundraiser is causing companies he’s invested in to shed members.
Donald Trump built his career and publicity machine in New York City real estate. While he remains a divisive figure in the industry, he still has connections with powerful, wealthy developers. One of them, Related Companies owner Stephen Ross, is planning a lavish Hamptons fundraiser for his re-election campaign. The Washington Post reports that ticket prices begin at around $5,600 and climb to $250,000 for the opportunity to have a private roundtable discussion with the president.
In addition to being a real estate developer, Ross is the owner of the Miami Dolphins football team and has investments in a number of restaurants and fitness brands, including Equinox and SoulCycle. When news broke that Ross is hosting the fundraiser, angry Equinox and SoulCycle members, some of them celebrities, took to social media to encourage their followers to cancel their memberships.
Model and television host Chrissy Teigen, who has over 11 million followers tweeted:
everyone who cancels their equinox and soul cycle memberships, meet me at the library. bring weights
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) August 7, 2019
Actor and comedian Billy Eichner told his followers:
Just contacted @Equinox to cancel my membership after many years. Money talks, especially with these monsters. If it’s too inconvenient for u to trade one LUXURY GYM for another, then you should be ashamed. (No disrespect to the many wonderful employees at my local Equinox). Bye!
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) August 7, 2019
Director Michael Moore also weighed in:
That’s it! Just cancelled my @SoulCycle membership! https://t.co/YvoG4pQv7w
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) August 7, 2019
Buzzfeed’s Julia Reinstein reports that in forums on the Equinox’s mobile app, “tons of members spoke out against Ross and said their farewells to the gym.” In one post, Reinstein wrote, “[the] member shared the famous photo of a 2-year-old immigrant girl crying as her mother was searched at the border, superimposed with the words ‘IT’S NOT FITNESS. IT’S HATE.’ ”
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills also voiced his displeasure at his team’s owner:
? You can’t have a non profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump. https://t.co/sNBWfEXvLn pic.twitter.com/nNkRf2wJep
— Kenny Stills (@KSTiLLS) August 7, 2019
In a joint response to the news of the fundraiser, SoulCycle and Equinox told members that they “don’t have anything to do with the event later this week and do not support it,” and “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.”
The statement also downplayed Ross’ involvement in the companies, calling him a “passive investor.”
Ross was quick to release an unapologetic statement defending his fundraiser to multiple publications, saying he’s been friends with Trump for over 40 years and has “never been bashful about expressing” opinions that differ from the president’s.
He described himself as “an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education and environmental sustainability,” though that defense was not enough to stop the spread of cancellations, which New York Magazine’s The Cut reports are continuing.Wait, before you go…
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