Billionaire Stephen Ross – owner of fitness giants SoulCycle and Equinox, as well as the NFL team Miami Dolphins – has released a statement following the fallout over his decision to hold a fundraiser for President Trump this week in the Hamptons, telling critics that he has “always” been an “active participant in the democratic process.”
According to the Washington Post, Ross and his wife will host a fundraiser for the president in their Southampton home Friday, with tickets ranging anywhere from $5,600 to $250,000.
The fallout was swift, with outraged celebrities pledging to cancel their luxury gym memberships due to Ross’s support for Trump.
Ross released a statement Wednesday evening, noting his long-time relationship with the president and defending his decision, which is largely rooted in his “deep concern for creating jobs and growing our country’s economy.”
His statement reads:
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.
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.
I started my business with nothing and a reason for my engagement with leaders is my deep concern for creating jobs and growing our country’s economy.
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.
Statement from Stephen Ross: pic.twitter.com/nvn3pmAPVE
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) August 7, 2019
STEPHEN ROSS, who is hosting the president for a big-dollar fundraiser in the Hamptons this week, has issued a statement saying he agrees with the president on "some issues,” and they “strongly disagree on many others." https://t.co/PGtFEFxIyl
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) August 7, 2019
Nevertheless, SoulCycle and Equinox tried to distance themselves from Ross.
“SoulCycle in no way endorses the political fundraising event being held later this week,” SoulCycle said. “We’re committed to all our riders and the communities we live in. Mr. Ross is a passive investor and is not involved in the management of SoulCycle.”:
A note from our CEO pic.twitter.com/UwxBWR76B0
— SoulCycle (@soulcycle) August 7, 2019
— Equinox (@Equinox) August 7, 2019
Despite that, a number of high-profile figures – particularly in Hollywood – have vowed to boycott the companies due to Ross’s support of the president:
Hey @Equinox – what’s your policy for canceling memberships once a member finds out your owner is enabling racism and mass murder?
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) August 7, 2019
People who interview Ross need to address this BS doublespeak. You cannot stand for equality and support—and fundraise for—a bigot and a birther. While the companies Ross owns @soulcycle @Equinox trip over themselves to get distance from… their owner. Come on. Absurd.
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) August 7, 2019
Seriously that statement from Stephen Ross is WEAKKK
— Ian Hest (@IanHest) August 7, 2019
I’m finding it very difficult today to support The Miami Dolphins. I genuinely don’t know if I can stand behind my lifelong team knowing what I now know about Stephen Ross.
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) August 7, 2019
oh and fuck soulcycle but I thought that way before this anyhow
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) August 7, 2019
— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) August 7, 2019
— Morgan J. Freeman (@mjfree) August 7, 2019