Boycott against SoulCycle, Equinox launched over Trump reelection fundraiser

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A boycott effort of two well-known fitness clubs was launched on Wednesday, because the founder-chairman of SoulCycle and Equinox's parent company is hosting a fundraiser for President Trump's reelection campaign this Friday in New York. 

The boycott launched in San Francisco's Castro District where protesters gathered outside the SoulCycle location on the corner of Market and Castro. Boycott organizers said they wanted to raise public awareness before this week's fundraiser on the East Coast. 

Stephen Ross, a wealthy real-estate developer and owner of the Miami Dolphins, plans to hold the Trump fundraiser in the Hamptons. 

Ross said he's known President Trump for 40 years and that he's never been bashful about expressing disagreement on issues with the president. 

Ross describes himself as an "outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education and environmental sustainability." Those attributes may seem contradictory with the values of the president considering he's been criticized over with his environmental record, including when he pulled from the Paris Climate Accord, and his most recent rhetoric, widely deemed racist, when he told four congresswomen of color to essentially leave the U.S. for being critical of the government. 

"The irony that this business is sitting here in Harvey Milk Plaza, it makes my blood boil," said protester Curtis Jensen. 

Boycott organizer Michael Petrelis said Ross' claims did not negate him from coming out to protest "when that same owner is helping to re-elect Donald Trump." 

"This is the time and the moment in 2019...I really sort of consider how I'm spending my money and what kind of companies I'm spending it with," said SoulCycle member Alissa Dos Santos. 

On social media, the fitness club's CEO Melanie Wheeler said: "SoulCycle in no way endorses the political fundraising event being held later this week. SoulCycle has nothing to do with the event and does not support it." She continued, "Mr. Ross is a passive investor and is not involved in the management of SoulCycle." 

A similar message was posted on Equinox's Twitter feed. 

"I will continue with SoulCycle just because they don't really have anything to do with that decision, I think. I have to learn a bit more about that," said one man who is a client, but did not want to give his name. 

Organizers of the boycott are urging customers to find out more about the businesses they patronize. In their words: "follow the money."