SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A small group of protesters gathered at the Soulcycle gym in San Francisco, joining a nationwide call for a boycott of the fitness chain because the billionaire owner plans to host a fundraiser for President Donald Trump.
“We want current members to cancel their memberships,” said well known LGBTQ activist Michael Petrelis. “And if they can’t cancel their memberships, then don’t renew their memberships.”
The demonstrators said they were upset to learn the owner of Soulcycle and Equinox, billionaire real estate developer Stephen Ross, is planning a fundraiser in the Hamptons on Friday for the president.
“When the owner is supporting a racist and homophobic and sexist president who uses hatred and bigotry to divide us…it just made me really angry,” said one protester.
Chrissy Teigen and Billy Eichner are among the celebrities who have taken to social media to join the call for a boycott.
rough day at equinox pic.twitter.com/CNxrQUbpCQ
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) August 7, 2019
Just contacted @Equinox to cancel my membership after many years. 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!
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) August 7, 2019
In a statement to CNN, Ross said he has known the president for 40 years:
“…while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others…I have been, and will continue to be, an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, [and] diversity …”
Equinox and SoulCycle also released a statement disassociating the company from the owner: “Neither Equinox nor Soulcycle have anything to do with the event later this week and do not support it. As is consistent with our policies, no company profits are used to fund politicians.”
Still, Elsa Friscira, a French citizen living in San Francisco, said she will boycott.
“Sometimes I work out at Soulcycle and I didn’t know about this,” Friscira said. “And since I know now, I’m not going to do it again.”