Customers are threatening to boycott the Equinox and SoulCycle fitness chains after reports that the chairman of their parent company will hold a fundraiser for President Donald Trump. Billionaire real estate developer Stephen Ross also owns the Miami Dolphins.
Representatives for the chains say, "Neither Equinox nor SoulCycle have anything to do with the event later this week and do not support it."
The Washington Post first reported Tuesday on the fundraiser in New York on Friday. A Republican campaign official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the event had not been officially announced, confirmed it to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
In a statement published by CBS Miami, Ross said he has known the president for 40 years. "While we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others…I have been, and will continue to be, an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, [and] diversity," Ross said.
CBS San Francisco reports a small group of protesters gathered at the Soulcycle gym in San Francisco. "We want current members to cancel their memberships," said well known LGBTQ activist Michael Petrelis. "And if they can't cancel their memberships, then don't renew their memberships."
Chrissy Teigen and Billy Eichner are among the celebrities who have taken to social media to join the call for a boycott.
Equinox and SoulCycle also released a statement disassociating the company from the owner: "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."
CBS Miami reported that the Trump fundraiser prompted a response from Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, who tweeted an image of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, or RISE, home page.
The organization's page references it "educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations."
Stills added the caption "you can't have a nonprofit with this mission statement then open your doors to trump."