Stephen Ross — the chair of Related Companies, which owns Equinox and SoulCycle — is hosting a fundraiser for President Trump this Friday. And in response, a protest has been planned for the same day.
Gonzalo Garcia and Adam G. Bass have organized a demonstration Friday in front of the Equinox in West Hollywood from 4 to 7 p.m. The location on Sunset Boulevard is also near a SoulCycle.
At the time of this article's publication, the Facebook event for the protest had 43 confirmed participants and over 100 more interested in attending.
"Equinox owner Stephen Ross is hosting a big-dollar fundraiser for Donald Trump's re-election campaign this Friday," the statement on the Facebook page reads. "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."
Bass told Wehoville that he was inspired to launch the protest Wednesday after hearing news of Ross's fundraiser. “If people in our community boycott Chick-fil-A for their work against the LBGT community then we better do the same towards Equinox and Soul Cycle," Bass told the West Hollywood outlet. "We cannot sit around and let this continue to happen. It’s the future of our country, our people, our immigrants and our children.”
Leadership at Equinox and SoulCycle distanced themselves from Ross’s politics in a statement issued Wednesday. "Neither Equinox nor SoulCycle have anything to do with the event later this week and do not support it,” reads a statement from the companies.
Ross, doubling down, defended himself and the fundraiser in his own lengthy statement.
“I have always been an active participant in the democratic process,” Ross said. “While some prefer to sit outside of the process and criticize, I prefer to engage directly and support the things I deeply care about.”
“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.”
Outraged members of the LGBTQ community and its allies continue to boycott and cancel their memberships to the elite exercise brands in response to the fundraiser. Adam Davis is among those who called to cancel his membership at the Equinox in West Hollywood.
"Knowing that my outrageous as it is membership fee could fuel the slightest amount of hate is justification enough to walk away and resist," Davis said in an email to The Advocate. "Defeating hate is more important than abs and a steam room," he added.