What to Know
- Fitness brands Equinox and SoulCycle are seeking to distance themselves from a Trump fundraiser hosted by their parent company's chairman
- Equinox and SoulCycle customers reportedly planned to boycott the companies after news of the fundraiser was reported by The Washington Post
- The two luxury fitness brands are owned by private parent company The Related Companies
Equinox and SoulCycle, two luxury fitness brands owned by private parent company The Related Cos., are seeking to distance themselves from a Trump fundraiser scheduled for this week at the home of their parent company’s chairman.
Stephen Ross, who is chairman of The Related Cos., is hosting a luncheon for President Donald Trump on Friday at his residence in Southampton, New York. The two companies faced backlash from their customers after news of the fundraiser was reported by The Washington Post, including a reported boycott.
In a statement, the companies said they do not support the event and characterized Ross as a "passive investor."
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"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," the companies said in a statement.
"We are committed to all our members and the communities we live in. We believe in tolerance and equality, and will always stay true to those values. Mr. Ross is a passive investor and is not involved in the management of either business," the statement said.
Ross responded to the criticism by issuing a statement which said he had always been "an active participant in the democratic process."
"While some prefer to sit outside of the process and criticize, I prefer to engage directly and support the things I deeply care about," the statement read. "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 started my business with nothing and a reason for my engagement with our leaders is my deep concern for creating jobs and growing our country’s economy. I have been, and will continue to be, an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education and environmental sustainability, and I have and will continue to support leaders on both sides of the aisle to address these challenges."
Ross, who is owner of the Miami Dolphins of the NFL, has also faced criticism over the fundraiser from one of the team’s players.
"You can’t have a nonprofit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump," wrote Kenny Stills, a wide receiver, in a post on Twitter. The post referenced the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, or RISE, a nonprofit Ross founded.
The nonprofit’s mission statement says the organization "educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations."
A spokesperson for The Related Cos. did not respond to a request for comment.
The Related Cos. is the sixth-largest property owner in New York City, according to trade publication The Real Deal. According to its website, the company’s portfolio of assets is valued at more than $60 billion.
This story first appeared on CNBC.com. More from CNBC:
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