When news broke that Stephen Ross, majority owner of The Related Companies, which owns the fitness chains SoulCycle and Equinox, will host a fundraiser for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in the Hamptons this weekend, the Twitter firestorm blazed bright. Celebrities including Chrissy Teigen, Billy Eichner, and Natasha Rothwell joined the resounding chorus of people cancelling their memberships and calling for a boycott on everything Ross touches, including the Miami Dolphins and New York City’s Hudson Yards.
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
everyone who cancels their equinox and soul cycle memberships, meet me at the library. bring weights
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) August 7, 2019
— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) August 7, 2019
Equinox has since tried to distance itself from the fallout, stating in an Instagram post that “Equinox and SoulCycle have nothing to do with the event and do not support it . . . Mr. Ross is a passive investor and is not involved in the management of either business.” Many were quick to point out that membership money does, in fact, still line Ross’s pockets, regardless of whether he’s in on day-to-day business decisions.
Given the online furor and a press release fumble, it was only a matter of time before competing brands took their shot.
Enter, New York Sports Club.
NYSC took to Instagram for some slick trolling with back-to-back posts stating, “FYI: This Friday, August 9th we’re not doing anything in Southhampton. Come work out with us.” And “Commit to something better.”
Your move, Planet Fitness and Crunch.