Luxury gym Equinox is donating $1 million to a handful of charities in response to a liberal boycott over its chairman’s support for President Trump.
Harvey Spevak, Equinox’s executive chairman, sent an email to gym members on Thursday, distancing the company from Stephen Ross, who owns Equinox’s parent firm The Related Companies. Mr. Ross sparked outrage last week after The Washington Post revealed that he was hosting Mr. Trump at his Hamptons home for a pricey reelection fundraiser.
A wave of liberals and anti-Trump celebrities responded by announcing they were pulling their memberships from Equinox and their popular indoor cycling clubs SoulCycle.
In his email, Mr. Spevak said that he had spent the last week meeting with gym members and staff to better understand the impact the controversy had on the community.
“I really appreciate the open and honest feedback I received,” he wrote, Business Insider reported. “It’s been heartfelt and, in many instances, emotional. I’m proud that even during this difficult time, our community is one that listens and respects each other.
“Many of you have asked for clarification on Stephen Ross’ investment in Equinox,” he continued. “Mr. Ross is not the majority investor in Equinox. He is one of the investors including myself. He does not run the company. I do. I am the Executive Chairman of Equinox and have led the vision and strategic direction of the company since I joined in 1999. Our focus has always been about building a community centered on our values, not politics.”
Mr. Spevak said Equinox will make a $1 million donation to five different charities to which it’s donated in the past, including, cancer research group Cycle for Survival, veterans’ nonprofit The Heroes Project, Alzheimer’s research group Move for Minds, foster care charity The Felix Organization, and LGBTQ house ballroom community group House Lives Matter.
Starting Saturday, Equinox members who visit the gym will be able to vote which groups get the most funding.