It turns out people are shocked—shocked—to learn that the billionaire owner of Equinox and SoulCycle plans to hold a fundraiser for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign; so much so that some are planning to take their mesh-paneled leggings elsewhere until the fervor dies down.
The Washington Post first reported that Stephen Ross, a real estate developer who oversees both fitness centers, intends to host a lunch on Friday at his Hamptons home in which attendees will pay $100,000 per ticket. (Or $250,000 to “listen in” on a roundtable discussion, which sounds like nothing short of a nightmare.) As he told CNN in 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 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.”
As a result, some Equinox and SoulCycle members have flung their chilled eucalyptus towels in a rage, vowing not to return unless the event is cancelled.
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Other gyms have been quick to try to lure defectors. Crunch tweeted that “At Crunch we have spin karaoke, hosted by a drag queen.” (It’s unclear whether Crunch, which was recently acquired by the private-equity firm TPG, doesn’t have its own hidden Trump supporters embedded in its ranks, though in fairness, I didn’t find any during a very hasty search run through this miraculous tool.)
Samantha Bonizzi, a spokesperson for Equinox and SoulCycle, told CNN that “Neither Equinox nor SoulCycle have anything to do with the event later this week and do not support it,” adding that,
“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.”
In my opinion, both gyms should be boycotted on the basis that the best workouts are achieved at gyms that cost no more than $30 per month, or by dragging a rusty chain around a junkyard under the light of a full moon. Also, this. But whatever people need to do!