Equinox’s executive chairman on Thursday announced a $1 million donation to five charities in the wake of boycott calls over chairman Stephen Ross’s Hamptons fundraiser for Donald Trump. But it seems unlikely to stem the protests against a broad range of Ross’s holdings.
Harvey Spevak distanced himself from Ross in an email to members, saying that 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.”
Spevak said the company would be donating $1 million to Cycle for Survival, The Heroes Project, The Felix Organization, Move for Minds and House Lives Matter. Ross’s fundraiser raised $12 million for Trump.
Yesterday we reported that Ross, The Related Companies chairman already facing boycotts of his gyms Equinox and SoulCycle, was facing flak on another front.
Ross serves on the board of The Shed at Hudson Yards, a major New York Fashion Week venue that will host dozens of NYFW events in September, and the designers are beginning to drop.
Major fashion label Rag & Bone has pulled out of the venue following news of Ross’s involvement with the Trump fundraiser, and designer Prabal Gurung says he will no longer be considering a show at Hudson Yards’ The Vessel.
WWD reports: “Other designers, including Humberto Leon and Dana Lorenz, have also expressed outrage toward Ross’ fundraiser. Lorenz, who runs the jewelry label Fallon, took aim at Ross’ wife, fellow jewelry designer Kara Ross, who holds a seat on the Council of Fashion Designers of America board. Lorenz posted a formal letter to CFDA chairman Tom Ford and chief executive officer Steven Kolb on her Instagram account, canceling her membership to the organization.”
Seven other designers with show locations not yet disclosed told the Daily Beast they won’t be using The Shed: Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Zimmermann, Carolina Herrera, R13, Marina Moscone, and Collina Strada.
And now City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is the first board member of The Shed to speak out against Ross, in a statement to the Daily Beast.
Said Johnson: “It is disappointing to see Stephen Ross support Donald Trump, who clearly does not share New York values and every day demonstrates his efforts to divide our country. I urge Stephen Ross to reconsider his support for this cruel, racist, and misogynistic president. There are a lot of Trump supporters in this town on a lot of boards. This is America and they can support who they want. But they should know that many people in this city are horrified at this administration, and they should expect to hear from these people. New Yorkers aren’t shy about expressing their disgust, and it’s one of our best qualities.”