Opinion: Equinox, SoulCycle Billionaire Stephen Ross Remains Unapologetic Amid Boycotts Over Trump Fundraiser

Self-made billionaire mogul Stephen Ross is unapologetic about his political and financial support of President Donald Trump. He has always donated generously to Republican candidates and committees. Ross is having an upcoming fundraiser this Friday at his posh home in the Hamptons to subsidize Trump’s reelection efforts. Ticket costs for the event range from a “modest” $5,600 to a whopping $250,000.

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As the owner of a lucrative sports team (Miami Dolphins) and chairman and founder of Related Companies, Ross has made some questionable decisions. However, Related Companies is a major stakeholder and parent company of trendy luxury fitness brands Equinox, SoulCycle, and Pure Yoga. He also owns restaurants and lifestyle brands like Bluestone Lane Coffee, Momofuku and Resy. SoulCycle and Equinox, specifically, are now targets of a national boycott due to their client base-young, liberal urban professionals who aren’t likely to vote for Trump in 2020. The fitness centers are also immensely popular among the LGBTQ community.

His decision to continue with the fundraiser has caused a fury among the public. Now, members of the LGBTQ community and others are threatening his businesses with a boycott.

Vocal LGBTQ community activist and actor Wilson Cruz launched a Change.org campaign and wrote, “We joined this gym because we believed it shared our values. We believed it was a safe space for people like us.”

Cruz also added: “There is no way that we as a community can continue to support this business if you are actively supporting an administration that puts us in danger and works toward treating us like second class citizens, and worse yet, subhuman.”

And herein lies the problem.

Ross is still determined to support a president who is racist, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, sexist, and incites violence, and it’s symbolic of what he holds valuable to himself. It is what it is.

He responded to the criticisms and threats of a boycott via a statement:

“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.”

I don’t have an issue with Ross’ transparency. I’m delighted that he didn’t patronize us with a half-assed, disingenuous apology to “make people feel better.”

I can appreciate a person who says, “This is what I believe, and I don’t care what you think.”

I don’t expect bigots to have a change of heart because of public opinion. I am suspicious of most people who acquiesce from their thoughts or actions simply because others take issue with what they’ve said or done.

Stephen Ross doesn’t need to cancel his fundraiser with President Trump on Friday.

Here’s what is essential.

If people’s values don’t align with mine, I don’t patronize their business. I am not begging someone to make me feel better about using their services or buying their products. They won’t earn my hard-earned cash. Many businesses have gone under from lack of financial support after they expressed their honest opinions. No apology was necessary, nor was it solicited.

I hope that bigots continue to expose themselves so that the American public can make informed decisions when selecting businesses to frequent.

Hopefully, the offended will put their money where their mouths are and walk away from every company associated with Related Company.

Below is a fitness option other than Equinox or SoulCycle, and they plan to donate a minimum of $10,000 to suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.