The owner of popular fitness brands Equinox and SoulCycle, Stephen Ross, issued a statement Wednesday after the news broke that he will be hosting a fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
After facing a backlash that he would host the Trump fundraiser in his home in the Hamptons, many people announced that they were canceling their Equinox and SoulCycle memberships, with tickets costing around $100,000, according to The Washington Post.
Ross said in a statement, “I always have 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.” Equinox and SoulCycle also issued responses to the fundraiser news.
Apart from being the founder and chairman of Related Companies, Ross also owns the NFL team the Miami Dolphins. He said he has known 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,” added Ross.
Kenny Stills of Miami Dolphins expressed his frustration with Ross on Twitter, stating, “You can’t have a non-profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump.”
Many celebrities have also expressed their disapproval over Ross’ association with Trump, including actress Sophia Bush, model Chrissy Teigen, and comedian Billy Eichner. Media figure Soledad O’Brien said, “Stephen Ross—The owner of @soulcycle —says ‘he has always been an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion diversity and environmental sustainability’ but is hosting a fundraiser for Trump who stands against all those things. Literally-a nonsensical statement from Ross.”