A small protest erupted outside of Equinox Fitness in West Hollywood Friday afternoon following the outcry over a big-dollar fundraising event for President Trump organized by billionaire Stephen Ross, chairman of Equinox owner Related Companies.
Approximately 20 people gathered at the Sunset Boulevard protest coordinated by Gonzalez Garcia and his friend Adam Bass. Garcia and Bass, outraged by the news, created a Facebook page which later culminated in the group chanting, ““Hay hay, ho ho Stephen Ross has got to go” outside the gym.
“I am here to make sure people know where the money is going. Yes, Equinox doesn’t directly play into political campaigns but we just want them to know that yes, they’re paying their memberships but that eventually pays Stephen Ross’s paycheck,” Garcia told Variety. “And even though he says he’s progressive and that he’s for inclusion and racial equality, he’s donating money to Trump.”
The orderly gathering was interrupted by a lone Trump supporter who shouted chants opposite the group for some 15 minutes.
— Paul Sanchez 🇵🇷 (@PhotogSanchez) August 9, 2019
Ross is the founder and chairman of the Related Cos., the parent company of Equinox and SoulCycle and investor in Momofuku and other restaurants through his company RSE Ventures. The upscale gym’s numerous Los Angeles locations are havens for power players in Hollywood and intersecting businesses. The gym’s Sports Club Los Angeles location on L.A.’s Westside regularly hosts studio heads and retired pro athletes.
The fitness companies have issued statements explaining that their company profits do not fund politicians; that they believe in tolerance and equality, and that Ross is not involved in the management of Equinox or Soul Cycle. A number of memberships have reportedly been cancelled and employees have quit their jobs in the aftermath of the controversy.
Additionally, local gyms like HIIT House LA and others across the country have offered discounts to new members in an attempt to poach former Equinox and Soul Cycle clients.