Celebrities Billy Eichner and Chrissy Teigen led the charge against luxury fitness club Equinox and indoor cycling chain SoulCycle on Wednesday in the wake of news that the billionaire investor behind them would be hosting a mega-fundraiser for President Donald Trump.
Both Eichner and Teigen have not been coy about their distaste for the president, namely his administration’s divisive policies and poor treatment of the LGBTQ community.
Upon hearing that developer Stephen Ross had planned a glitzy re-election luncheon for Trump in the Hamptons, the celebs were among the many who called on their followers to cancel their membership in his properties. Thus, the #BoycottEquinox hashtag came to life.
“Hey @Equinox — what’s your policy for canceling memberships once a member finds out your owner is enabling racism and mass murder?” Eichner tweeted after sharing a news story announcing the fundraiser. He then made good on his threat and said that he contacted Equinox to cancel his years-long membership.
“Money talks, especially with these monsters. If it’s too inconvenient for u to trade one LUXURY GYM for another, then you should be ashamed. (No disrespect to the many wonderful employees at my local Equinox). Bye!” the “Lion King” star wrote.
He later added: “There are a handful of billionaires who own everything and many support Trump. Practically speaking, it’s probably impossible to completely avoid them. But considering @Equinox’s clientele and how they’ve pandered to us, this one feels particularly hypocritical and shameful.”
Sizing up his other gym options, the “Billy on the Street” star publicly pondered whether “Nazis own Crunch [Fitness].”
There are a handful of billionaires who own everything and many support Trump. Practically speaking, it’s probably impossible to completely avoid them. But considering @Equinox’s clientele and how they’ve pandered to us, this one feels particularly hypocritical and shameful.— billy eichner (@billyeichner) August 7, 2019
In a public statement, the gyms, which have considered themselves LGBTQ allies, defended their pro-LGBTQ stance and attempted to distance themselves from Ross, who also owns the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, claiming that he was only a “passive investor.”
However, the statement infuriated several Twitter users, who insisted that Ross is the chairman and a majority shareholder of the Related Companies, which owns Equinox and SoulCycle. Ross, who’s known Trump for 40 years, issued his own statement shortly after the backlash gained steam online, saying that he has both agreed and disagreed with Trump on issues during that time.
He concluded the statement by saying: “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.”
Other Twitter users were quick to point out the gym’s swift pivot from its strident Pride Month displays in June.
Meanwhile, Teigen had more choice words for the clubs during a Wednesday afternoon tear.
“The gym is my personal hell but if you’re a member of Equinox perhaps it is time to say peace(out)-inox ayyyyy,” the pithy cookbook author wrote, punctuating her statements with a few expletives.
everyone who cancels their equinox and soul cycle memberships, meet me at the library. bring weights— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) August 7, 2019
Here are some other notable reactions to the news:
It’s important @equinox know WHY we’re going to cancel our membership. This fundraiser and it’s ties to Stephen Ross, is a betrayal to our communities after masquerading as a corporate ally during #Pride. You can’t use us to make money and then use it to work against us. No. https://t.co/CFZhBmGdaV— Wilson Cruz (@wcruz73) August 7, 2019
I was a member at the very first @Equinox on Broadway and 19th Street. What a club that was. And what a cesspool of hate it is now with the Chairman raising money for Donald Trump and white supremacist ads that dub immigrants as "invaders" and inspire mass murder.— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) August 7, 2019