Following the news Wednesday morning that Stephen Ross — majority owner of the umbrella company that holds Equinox among many other brands — was hosting a fundraiser for Donald Trump in Southampton, the luxury gym brand was met with calls for boycotts, public outcry, and anger on social media from celebrities like Billy Eichner and Chrissy Teigen. Equinox staff members also reported that front desks were getting hit with numerous calls from people asking to cancel their memberships, according to Zach Stafford at The Advocate.
The brands has since released a statement to the press and to their membership base saying "Neither Equinox nor SoulCycle [which is also under the umbrella company] 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.
Heads up, gym bunnies. Yet another brand we consume in our vast, daily practice of capitalism has been implicated into the problematic views of billionaires.
Real estate developer and majority owner of Related Companies Stephen Ross is basically one of those people who’s wealthy as his job. With a $7.7 billion estimated net worth according to Forbes, Ross’ career has led him to become the owner or developer of huge entities like the Miami Dolphins, the Hard Rock Stadium, the Time Warner Center, Hudson Yards, and others. Among his many holdings, Ross also owns Equinox Fitness Clubs, which includes not only the titular luxury gym brand, but PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness, and SoulCycle as well.
Welp, as billionaires are wont to do, Ross is hosting a massive fundraiser this weekend in Southampton for Donald Trump, who has been his friend for decades. The event, which features a private table and photo opportunity with the KKK-endorsed politician for the top ticket price of $250,000, will benefit Trump’s re-election campaign, according to the Washington Post.
This is just one of many strategic moves the president has made in his long history of accepting huge contributions from wealthy donors who give millions over the years. The day after Trump’s re-election announcement this year, Trump appeared at a top-dollar luncheon at the Trump National Doral hotel that raised an estimated $6 million, according to the Post.
In response, people are sharing a message on Instagram asking members of the luxury gym — and presumably its affiliate brands Blink, Soulcycle, etc. — to boycott the brand and take their money elsewhere. Whether or not this will result in the gays actually forfeiting their attachment to elitist fitness companies en masse remains to be seen.
But when it comes down to it, are we really surprised that a brand like Equinox, which prides itself on the exclusivity of capitalism and the beauty standards that come with it, is owned by a Trump supporter? Does boycotting these brands result in any real change, if the alternates might be just as complicit in this system, for all we know? Doesn’t it feel like just yesterday we were boycotting Uber only to give our money to the Trump-supporting Peter Theil-owned Lyft? Is there any ethical consumption under capitalism?? Just a few questions for your Wednesday morning.