*Laganja voice* Come on, WeHo! Let’s get civically engaaaaaaaaaged! *dips*
Following news on Wednesday that Stephen Ross, the majority owner of Related Companies which owns brands like Equinox, SoulCycle, Blink Fitness, and others is hosting a fundraiser for Donald Trump this weekend in Southampton, a range of public protests are being made against the gym chains, including a demonstration taking place on Friday in West Hollywood, Los Angeles’ historically gay neighborhood.
The Ross-hosted Trump fundraiser was met with calls to boycott Equinox and other affiliated brands, public outcry on social media, and voiced anger from celebrities like Billy Eichner, Sophia Bush, and Chrissy Teigen. Equinox staff members also reported that Equinox was getting hit with many calls and emails from people asking to cancel their memberships, according to Zach Stafford at The Advocate.
Along with these forms of public protest, organizer Gonzalo Garcia is hosting a protest Friday outside the West Hollywood branch of Equinox, which will likely be largely attended by the LGBTQ+ community and allies, WEHOville reports. “Let's send a message loud and clear, we can not support companies who are trying to re-elect a racist, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic, anti-immigrant and all around bigot,” the event description reads. There is a SoulCycle location in that area as well.
“We’re tired of people taking our money and using it to elect racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, transphobic, homophobic people into office,” Garcia told WEHOville. “If people in our community boycott Chik-fil-A for their work against the LBGT community then we better do the same towards Equinox and SoulCycle. We cannot sit around and let this continue to happen. It’s the future of our country, our people, our immigrants, and our children.”
On the opposite coast, the Trump fundraiser luncheon taking place the same day will have tickets priced as high as $250,000, The Washington Post reports. This is part of the president’s extensive history accepting huge contributions from wealthy donors who own huge corporations while giving millions over the years. Brands have since released a statement to the press and to their membership base saying, "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," the statement also said.
Ross made his own statement Thursday amidst the call for a boycott of his properties. "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," he told the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley. He added that he’s been friends with the president for 40 years and "while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others." Supporting racial equality, public education, and environmentalism, while also supporting a president that precisely does not support those things? Interesting logic! It’s kinda like if you were releasing a statement saying you’re anti-fur at the exact same time you’re purchasing a $250,000 floor-length mink coat!
Where Equinox as a brand has been an LGBTQ+ ally throughout the years, with Pride campaigns featuring trans people of color in the ballroom community, Trump has a terrible track record on LGBTQ+ issues, stripping rights and Obama-era protections for trans people, failing to support the Equality Act, and causing detrimental harm to the progress of HIV/AIDS research globally.
The demonstration will take place Friday at 4 p.m. outside the West Hollywood branch of Equinox, which is located at 8590 Sunset Blvd.
And while we have you gays here, can we also count on seeing you at the next rally for trans lives!! Thx.