Despite making a $1 million donation to LGBTQIA+ and cancer groups in a bid to do some damage control, US-based luxury gym retailer Equinox continues to face severe backlash from members after its chairman hosted a $250,000 fundraiser for Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
Equinox is one of many brands run by Stephen Ross, the chairperson of the parent firm – Related Companies. Other fitness brands under its banner including SoulCycle, Blink Fitness and PureYoga have also seen members threatening to leave in droves after news of Ross’ fundraiser spread.
Influencers and celebrities were also quick to take to social media encouraging their followers to cancel their Equinox memberships. Model Chrissy Teigan, Queer Eye‘s Jonathan Van Ness and actor Billy Eichner were among the many calling on their followers to boycott the brand run by Ross.
Eichner, not pulling any punches, took to Twitter and had this to say:
Hey @Equinox – what’s your policy for canceling memberships once a member finds out your owner is enabling racism and mass murder?
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) August 7, 2019
However, two days before the fundraiser, Equinox made a statement insisting that the gym had nothing to do with the event, and that it wasn’t corporate policy to allow for profits to be used to to fund politicians. Its tweet further called Ross nothing more than a “passive investor… not involved in the management of either business”.
Related Companies is also affiliated to Hudson Yards, the High Line, CitiBike, Bluestone Lane coffee, Momofuku, &pizza, and many other properties in New York. Ross is also the owner of the Miami Dolphins, according to Newsweek.
Meanwhile, the internet is awash with guides on how to painlessly cancel your Equinox gym membership.
According to Vice, the only way to cancel a membership in the first year is to either re-locate at least 25 miles away or get a note from a physician – quite like a sick note for school – stating that you can’t work out for more than six months. After a year, it becomes relatively simpler as memberships can be cancelled anytime with some prior notice. A New York City councilman is also in the process of drafting legislation which allows members to cancel such memberships instantly online.
Facetiousness aside, Equinox’s executive chairman Harvey Spevak, last Thursday, sent out a mail to all members saying, “I am sorry for the impact it has had on our community – and I’m sorry we haven’t said more. We have not been ignoring the situation. I have been in our clubs listening to our teams and members… and the feedback has been emotional.”
Spevak also reiterated that Ross is not a majority investor in Equinox, and that being the executive chairman of Equinox, it was he who led to vision and direction of the company.
While it’s not entirely clear exactly how much money was raised for Trump, it was rumoured that one seat sold for as high as $250,000 on the same roundtable as the president. The Republican National Committee chairwoman tweeted that the event clubbed with another the same day raised a total of $12 million.
Thanks to the unhinged mob on the left, @realDonaldTrump raised $12M today, $2M more than originally expected.
The support for our President is unprecedented and growing!
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) August 9, 2019
Last Friday, Trump called Ross “a great friend of mine”.
Featured image credit: Reuters