Fitness chain Equinox is under massive fire after news broke that Stephen Ross, the wealthy developer who owns Equinox’s parent company, Related Companies, is hosting a high dollar fundraiser for President Donald Trump this week.
A new petition on Change.org, started by actor and LGBT activist Wilson Cruz, is rallying support from the LGBT community and allies, urging Equinox to ends its support of Donald Trump.
Cruz is a member of Equinox, and believes that President Trump’s anti-LGBT policies are incongruent with the spirit and base of the Equinox community.
The petition has over 3,000 signatures and counting
Cruz, who starred in the 1990s TV show “My So Called Life” and is currently on the CBS All Access show “Star Trek: Discovery” said he started the change.org petition “to voice our outrage, as members, at this betrayal by Equinox.”
“We joined this gym because we believed it shared our values. We believed it was a safe space for people like us,” writes Cruz on the petition.
“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 towards treating us like second class citizens, and worse yet, subhuman.”
Ross, who also owns Blink Fitness and SoulCycle, is hosting the fundraiser for Trump’s re-election. The event is slated to charge up to $250,000 for attendees who want to attend a roundtable discussion with the President.
On August 9, campaigners demonstrated outside Equniox’s West Hollywood branch in protest to the plans for the fundraiser.
In response to the campaign, SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan issued a statement saying the company “in no way endorses the political fundraising event” organized by Stephen Ross.
The company also announced plans to allow each of its instructors to “teach a community ride for a cause of their choice,” with proceeds donated to the causes suggested.
Here are some comments on the petition from Equinox members:
- “I’ve been a member of Equinox for 12 years – and I will not stand behind a company with no moral compass.” — Jessica Beatus, New York, NY
- “I canceled my membership, I will not be part of a club that supports a hate, bigotry and racism!” — Millie Vitello, Los Angeles, CA
- “I’ve supported this company for years and am disgusted by this news. I cannot stand behind a company that stands behind and supports platforms of hatred, racism and white supremacy.” — Jeff Barneson, New York, NY
Cruz said that Equinox can’t spin their way out of this controversy, and needs to answer to its members or face the consequences of many members leaving the gym.
“It’s important that Equinox know why we’re going to cancel our membership. This fundraiser and it’s ties to Stephen Ross is a betrayal to our communities after masquerading as a corporate ally during Pride. You can’t use us to make money and then use it to work against us,” Cruz said.