Billionaire Stephen Ross gets backlash for Trump fundraiser – POLITICO
News that the billionaire and Republican donor Stephen Ross would hold a Hamptons fundraiser for President Donald Trump sparked anger online at some of Ross’ most prominent businesses on Wednesday: luxury spinning studio SoulCycle and Equinox gym.
Ross, who is worth an estimated $7.7 billion, founded the Related Companies, a real estate firm that invests in popular fitness and restaurant brands and owns the Miami Dolphins football team.
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Ross is a longtime GOP donor. But he has not been a major public supporter of Trump’s in the past, and his move to host the lunchtime fundraiser on Long Island for the president elicited backlash from people who pay for his high-end fitness memberships, as well as from one player for the Miami Dolphins.
Model-actress Chrissy Teigen wrote in a tweet on Wednesday: “everyone who cancels their equinox and soul cycle memberships, meet me at the library. bring weights.”
Kenny Stills, a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins, criticized Ross — who runs a nonprofit focused on improving racial equality in sports — for holding the event, tweeting: “You can’t have a non profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump.”
In addition to SoulCycle and Equinox, the Related Companies has developed major real estate sites, including New York City’s Hudson Yards, and is an investor in restaurants such as Momofuku and &pizza. Donors attending Ross’ fundraiser will pay up to $250,000 each to help Trump’s reelection, according to The Washington Post.
Comedian Billy Eichner wrote a string of tweets criticizing Equinox and calling on people to cancel their memberships.
“Just contacted @Equinox to cancel my membership after many years,” he wrote. “Money talks, especially with these monsters.”
In a statement provided to POLITICO, Ross said that he had “always been an active participant in the democratic process” and that he preferred “to engage directly and support the things I deeply care about.”
“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,” Ross said. “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.”