WeHo Protest Planned Over Equinox Gym Owner’s Fundraiser for Donald Trump

Equinox at 8950 Sunset Blvd.

West Hollywood’s Equinox Gym is likely to be the site of a protest on Friday afternoon prompted by a report that the founder and chair of The Related Companies, which owns the gym chain and also SoulCycle, is hosting a major fundraiser on Friday for Donald Trump.

Gonzalo Garcia, a West Hollywood resident, has created a page on Protest Equinox, SoulCycle and Trump page on Facebook calling for a boycott of and protest at 4 p.m. Friday against outside the West Hollywood branch of Equinox, which is located at 8590 Sunset Blvd. in the shopping area near Sunset Plaza.  SoulCycle has a West Hollywood location at 8570 Sunset Blvd.

The Washington Post has reported that The Related Company’s Stephen Ross and his wife, jewelry designer Kara Ross, will host a fundraising luncheon for Trump on Friday in Southampton on Long Island.  According to the Post “tickets are priced at $100,000 for a photo opportunity (with Trump) and lunch, and $250,000 for the package that includes the roundtable discussion…” That will be followed by a reception at the Bridgehampton estate of real estate developer Joe Farrell, where tickets are priced at $5,600 per couple for the general reception, $11,200 per couple for the VIP reception and $35,000 per couple for a photo opportunity.

Stephen Ross, chair of The Related Companies

Ross founded The Related Companies in 1972 with a $10,000 loan from his mother. Headquartered in New York City, it has offices and major developments in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, San Francisco, Abu Dhabi, London, São Paulo and Shanghai and is New York City’s largest landlord. Its corporate bio has it has over $50 billion in real estate investment. In 2006 it purchased Equinox Fitness.

 “We’re tired of people taking our money and using it to elect racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, trans-phobic, homophobic people into office,” Garcia said in an text message exchange with WEHOville. “If people in our community boycott Chik-fil-A for their work against the LBGT community then we better do the same towards Equinox and Soul Cycle.  We cannot sit around and let this continue to happen. It’s the future of our country, our people, our immigrants and our children.”

Garcia said he was prompted to try to organize a protest this morning when he learned about Ross’s fundraiser for Trump. “Honestly I decided to do this when I heard the news about it this morning,” he said. “Do I know what I’m doing? No. But do I want my voice heard? Yes.”

A spokesperson for Equinox Fitness responded to the calls for boycotts and protests in a message to the Advocate magazine.

“Neither Equinox nor SoulCycle have anything to do with the event later this week and do not support it,” the message read. “As is consistent with our policies, no company profits are used to fund politicians. 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.”

While Ross is not involved in day-to-day management of Equinox Fitness and its related brands, The Related Companies website states that Ross continues to chair the board of Related, which means he has considerable power.

In its story, the Advocate notes that “Equinox has sold itself frequently as an LGBTQ ally, partnering with the House Ballroom community and supporting charities like House Lives Matter to assist marginalized sexual and gender minorities.

“But Trump has his own history with the LGBTQ community that includes stripping Obama-era protections in schools for trans youth and banning transgender troops from military service. The president publicly came out against the Equality Act and same-sex marriage, amid other outwardly hostile stances toward the LGBTQ community.

“Granted, Trump also promised to bring about an end to the AIDS crisis (but fired his entire HIV/AIDS panel without explanation before rebuilding a new committee) and opposed the mass murder of LGBTQ individuals in a speech at the Republican National Convention (before scrubbing all mention of LGBTQ people from the White House website).

“In the last election cycle, Stephen Ross was among the top 200 political donors in the country, according to transparency website Open Secrets, giving more than $452,000 to political candidates and parties nationwide. About 93% of his donations went to Republicans.”

As of publication, nearly 100 people have posted on the Protest Equinox, SoulCycle and Trump Facebook page that they are interested in the protest or will attend it. Several also have said they have cancelled their memberships in Equinox. 


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Joey
Guest
Joey

Those in NYC, beyond this issue, there is a much better choice than Equinox. Life Time Fitness the service is so much better, and a great gym, on 42nd. Just try it for a day. Life Time is still owned by the same guy who started it. Founder “Caring” culture which resonates through the people they hire, they all know the CEO founders name. Equinox, hardly any employees can name who the CEO is, or even the owner Ross, before all this. Equinox is McDonalds, a machine that is laser focused on selling memberships

Brian
Guest
Brian

The debate here is much more interesting than having to attend the Mueller Report reading. Imagine the poor TV guys having to cover that.

Michael Grace
Guest
Michael Grace

Did anyone notice how quickly the Secretary of Defense was approved? The 90-to-8 vote reflected broad bipartisan support for Mark Esper. Why? Because this country is controlled by the Military Industrial Complex. The lobbyists in the DC swamp swim around every Democrat and Republican political hack so they can buy their vote. Guaranteeing the United States, which has not won a war since World War II, continues to be the policeman of the world costing billions of dollars and wasting human lives to make a big profit for companies supplying the weapons. The same political DC attitudes will go for… Read more »

Lew
Guest
Lew

Where were all these hypocrites when Hillary was hanging out with an avowed racist KLAN member, Senator Robert Byrd…her Senate mentor?
Or when she made CLEAR, “I defend the marriage act-marriage is between a Man and a Woman.”

Far Left radical nazis who believe only they have the right to dictate political beliefs.
Then we have John Duran…

Chris Sanger
Guest
Chris Sanger

That’s nonsense. Byrd was briefly a KKK member in his youth. As a Senator he evolved into a moderate, not a segrationist. Desperate aren’t we.

Peggy On Sunset
Guest
Peggy On Sunset

In the early 1940s, Byrd recruited 150 of his friends and associates to create a new chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in Sophia, West Virginia. In December 1944, Byrd wrote to segregationist Mississippi Senator Theodore G. Bilbo: I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side … Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds. He was 37 when he dropped out… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Guest
Alan Strasburg

It’s fun reading the linguistic gymnastics of those who are seeking to question the effectiveness of boycotts, or the wisdom of this one, in order to stay put at these palaces of profits for the benefit of billionaire bigots. While Ross might not subscribe to bigoted ideologies himself, his support of trump makes him a bigot by proxy.

Gimmeabreak
Guest
Gimmeabreak

I keep hearing that Trump is anti-gay yet no one can ever say what it is he has done or said to support that. I keep hearing that Trump is racist yet no one can ever say what it is that he has ever done or said that is racist. In fact, unemployment is the lowest it has EVER been for African and Hispanic Americans.

Somebody fill me in. Please!

Steve
Guest
Steve

The sad thing about being racist and homophobic is that you don’t recognize hate speech when you hear it….even when you hear it over and over again. Have a nice day.

Lew
Guest
Lew

Or when others hold “mightier than thou” perspectives therefore only I can decide what is or isn’t.
Have a nice day.

Gimmeabreak
Guest
Gimmeabreak

Well, Steve, let’s hear it! Give me some examples.

Monica Siegel
Guest
Monica Siegel

Well, you could use Google. Lots of results turn up. Here is one about his anti-LGBTQ antics: https://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/07/31/10-ways-trump-is-attacking-lgbt-rights/ And then there’s this one about his racist behavior: https://theintercept.com/2019/07/19/trump-racism-impeachment-offense/

Mike Dolan
Guest
Mike Dolan

Then there is this article. You must take into consideration his entire administration, appointments, judges… This is Trump’s playbook.

JF1
Guest
JF1

Yup, he’s done more for them in his term that other presidents in recent memory. They are better off now than they were 3 years ago. They need to wake up and stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

MJJ
Guest
MJJ

I can never figure that one out either. He hires gay men and lesbians in top positions, and was the only President ever to go into office already in favor of gay marriage. I think most gay men just like to pretend he’s anti-gay because…. they just don’t think for themselves and follow the gay herd.

Observer
Guest
Observer

Whatever happened to the boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel ?

08Mellie
Guest
08Mellie

NOTHING…Hollywood Elites

stefan
Guest
stefan

Brunei changed the law about imposing the death penalty on gay people. Or, they didn’t implement the law? I forget the specifics. But whatever the deal was, they caved to public pressure and the boycott is over.

Observer
Guest
Observer

I think the implementation of this draconian law is on hold.

mark
Guest
mark

Coming to all cities: Republican Only Gyms, Democrat Only Gyms, Independent Only Gyms.
See where this goes, no where.

Craig
Guest
Craig

How about gyms shouldn’t be in the business of politics.
I don’t want my money going towards my enemy.
I support the protest and I also won’t be supporting Equinox’s current requests with the city.

mark
Guest
mark

You can’t control that and also want full disclosure of what a business does that can’t ignore politics when it affects jobs, economy, etc.

Lew
Guest
Lew

So, we need to cleanse ALL democratic politicians ….starting with Bill, Hillary, Obama, Schumer and a long line of other hypocrites.

Lucille Patterson
Guest
Lucille Patterson

That’s not the point. My membership is $225 a month and I will put MY money where I want to: End of story period I will NOT support the racist Nazi regime of Trump

Steve
Guest
Steve

I agree with you, Lucille. My issue here more than anything is that the politics of the owner are completely counter to what Equinox and Soul Cycle aggressively sell and promote. It’s fraudulent and deceptive and he would have gotten away with it if he didn’t have the hubris to HOST the fundraiser!

Manny
Guest
Manny

$225 a month?!…..I’d protest that membership fee. Wow! What’s going on in there?

Jason
Guest
Jason

This won’t be hard decision because I am with Manny. It will be a cold day in the darkest part of hell when I pay 225 dollars a month for a Gym Membership!!

Lew
Guest
Lew

Racist nazi? How about Hillary or Biden’s gym? She didn’t want gays around that wanted to get married and loved to call black criminals “Super Predators” (vs, white criminals who must be normal ,nice white criminals). Biden just didn’t want blacks bused to his neighborhood.
Let us not forget creepy Joe and Bill’s sex predator actions…vs. words.

Josh Kurpies
Guest
Josh Kurpies

I don’t think membership needs to be exclusive, but I’d probably join a gym that was OWNED by all Democrats.

Jim Nasium
Guest
Jim Nasium

Yeah, the 1% gym rats with the $3,000/year memberships are feeling kinda guilty now. I’ll stick with the 99%.

Josh Kurpies
Guest
Josh Kurpies

Hi Jim. If you’re replying to my comment, your point was lost on me.

JF1
Guest
JF1

It’s unbelievable …isn’t it?!

mark
Guest
mark

As an independent, sorry if I don’t support people calling for the death of law makers (Bette Midler on Mitch) yet thinks late term abortions is okay. High taxes, less freedoms, full govt control is not healthy for anyone. Elizabeth Warren “motivated” the shooter on the Left, so call her out. Boycott all politicians? Knife attack recently in CA. Ban knives? Why not boycott mind altering pharmaceuticals and media exposure of the youth since they’re so easily triggered. Some services simply can’t be boycotted so easily when we’re so dependent on them. I support the concept but it’s futile. If… Read more »

Charles Morgan
Guest
Charles Morgan

Let’s just engage in mob rule and protest anyone who is related by 10 degrees of separation from anyone else who disagrees with our position on anything. Let’s put thousands of employees out of work because democracy and trying to get along is for the birds. Civil discussion is for yesteryear. Now is the time for mob action. Civility? Forget it! The right to express an opinion that differs from our own? Never! Put all companies out of business unless the secretary to the shipping clerk in the back office of the subsidiary of the supplier to the janitorial company… Read more »

kyle Kalio
Guest
kyle Kalio

Don’t you believe in freedom of speech? You say you don’t like govt control and yet you want to stifle these people.

And quite honestly, with the outrageous fees Equinox charges, no one should worry that they will be financially impacted.

Much of Corporate America (eg Wells Fargo and BofA, for example) have screwed people over for years and nothing ever happens. Protests and complaints by consumers are the only things that have some impact

08Mellie
Guest
08Mellie

100%

Chris G
Guest
Chris G

Respectfully here are some things to chew to on: 1. Ross owns the Miami Dolphins & along with the NFL they blacklisted 49’ers QB, Kaepernick, for kneeling as protest against police brutality. It’s been 889 days since Kaep has played but Ross can unapologetically host a $250k/plate dinner for this DT’s campaign?? Why is it ok for Ross to host a fundraiser for Trump but not ok when a player takes a knee, when the league said no politics allowed? 2. Because Ross isn’t a passive investor, every $ that he profits from his companies is basically supporting this guy’s… Read more »

Josh Kurpies
Guest
Josh Kurpies

Comments on this string thus far are an embarrassment and I know do not reflect the values of my community here in West Hollywood. Mr. Grace makes claims about a corrupt cannabis industry but offers no evidence to support his claim and makes a blanket negative statement about all the Democratic presidential candidates, showing his minority view as a conservative Republican. “Inaction” seems to have the myopic view that the issue of homelessness lacks complexity in both its causes and its solutions. If one truly was angered by inaction, one would be outraged at the federal government, especially as HUD… Read more »

Inaction
Guest
Inaction

Hello Josh, unfortunately your assumption that I have a myopic view about homelessness is incorrect, as is lack of knowledge about the proposed HUD rules change affecting undocumented members of otherwise legal families partaking of public housing. While many issues have varying degrees of importance it appears sound and logical to act locally on issues of local importance rather than frittering away time and resources on issues beyond immediate reach. Yes, it all fits into a spectrum but practicality also is an important ingredient.

Alan Strasburg
Guest
Alan Strasburg

Welcome to the world of debate by deflection, Josh. It’s rampant on these pages, and abetted by the all-too-often anonymity which reigns supreme, and provides an ensconcement from which disconnected talking points flow.

Inaction
Guest
Inaction

Hello Alan, if you would like to address a comment, I would be happy to give an answer to the best of my ability. I prefer to not engage in deflection. As for anonymity, in some ways, you have provided your own answer. NY Times, WaPo and a few other publications publish comments under my name and likewise the discussions are monitored and fruitful. That is not always the case in WeHo where too frequently the focus is not always on the idea.

Johnatan
Guest
Johnatan

Josh, perfectly said… I know how much you care about our community, and we’ll-being of all… Tightly-squeezed Huuuuug!

Patriot
Guest
Patriot

A “passive investor” still makes money on the business he co-owns, money he then gives to Trump. The company PR spin is bullsh-t so they don’t lose money. Protest? Hell with that. Better to burn the place to the ground.

mark
Guest
mark

This proves how violent and extreme the left is far more than right. This is an independent voice.