- The backlash against Equinox and SoulCycle in response to a Washington Post report that unearthed owner Stephen Ross’ ties to President Donald Trump is showing no signs of slowing down.
- Ross – an investor and real-estate mogul who also notably owns the Miami Dolphins – has an ownership stake in several other buzzy brands through his firms Related Cos. and RSE Ventures.
- These brands include trendy eateries like Momofuku, Milk Bar, &pizza, and Bluestone Lane; media companies like VaynerMedia and Derris; and major sporting events, including the Miami Open and International Champions Cup.
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As angry consumers continue to cancel their Equinox memberships and SoulCycle classes upon learning of owner Stephen Ross’ ties to President Donald Trump, many may be surprised to find out the investor’s brand portfolio runs quite deep.
Ross holds an ownership stake in 15 brands as the founder and chairman of Related Cos., including buzzy eateries like Momofuku and Bluestone Lane, as well as media companies like VaynerMedia. On Thursday morning, Related had blocked public access to view its list of brands, rendering a message that says “you are not authorized to access this page.” Related has not yet responded to Business Insider’s request to comment on the change.
Additionally, Ross’ venture-capital firm, RSE Ventures – which specializes in sports, entertainment, media, and technology, according to its website – has backed numerous other companies across a wide spectrum of industries.
Business Insider has reached out to all 34 brands listed as financially tied to Ross and has included their comments below.
The boycotts erupted on Wednesday when The Washington Post reported that Ross would be hosting a fundraising event for Trump at his New York home in the Hamptons on Friday, with tickets selling for as much as $250,000.
In response, #GrabYourWallet founder Shannon Coulter urged consumers to boycott Ross-owned companies, and several notable figures, including Chrissy Teigen, Billy Eichner, and Ilana Glazer, said on social media they planned to cancel their Equinox memberships.
On Wednesday night, Ross shared a statement with the Miami Herald reporter Adam Beasley, in which he mentioned his decades-long relationship with Trump and his intention to work with “leaders on both sides of the aisle” to address his “deep concern for creating jobs and growing our country’s economy.”
“I always have been an active participate in the democratic process,” Ross said in the response. “While some prefer to sit outside of the process and criticize, I prefer to engage directly and support the things I deeply care about. I have known Donald Trump for 40 years, and while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others and I have never been bashful about expressing my opinions.”
We took a closer look at the companies in Ross’ brand portfolio. Here they are:
- Benjamin Goggin / Business Insider
Equinox is a luxury fitness and lifestyle company that boasts several celebrity clients and pricey memberships.
Equinox issued a statement on Wednesday.
The company sought to distance itself from the fundraiser and said it had “nothing to do with the event” and did not support it.
- Richard Levine/Getty Images
SoulCycle, which is owned by Equinox, is an upscale cycling studio.
SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan responded to the controversy in a tweet on Wednesday.
The CEO said SoulCycle “in no way endorses” the Trump fundraiser hosted by Ross and the investor “is not involved in the management” of the company.
VaynerMedia is a digital-media company. A spokesperson for VaynerMedia declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.
Bluestone Lane coffee
- Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
Bluestone Lane is a cafe and coffee company.
- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
&pizza is a trendy pizza company primarily on the East Coast.
On Thursday, David Chang, the founder and head chef of the Momofuku restaurant group, used his podcast, “The Dave Chang Show,” to share an impassioned response denouncing Ross’ ties to Trump.
“I personally am a staunch opponent to President Trump and everything he stands for,” Chang said on the podcast. “I f—ing hate him. Anyone that normalizes gun violence, white supremacy, putting kids into cages, his general lack of decency and respect for anyone else – he is destroying our democratic norms. I cannot stand behind him.”
Chang continued, thanking Ross for his support over the years before urging him to cancel the fundraiser.
“I’m imploring you to reconsider hosting this fundraiser,” he said. “It flies in the face of everything we believe in at Momofuku. It frightens many of the people that work for you, and it contradicts what I hoped to accomplish before taking your money in the first place.”
- Aly Weisman/Business Insider
Milk Bar is a popular bakery run by Christina Tosi as part of the Momofuku restaurant group.
Milk Bar CEO Christina Tosi issued a statement in the wake of the backlash.
- Milk Bar
Tosi wrote that Milk Bar “is in no way affiliated with the Trump fundraiser” and that “company decisions are all made independently by the Milk Bar team and me.” The CEO also said that she personally did not support Trump’s policies and that Milk Bar believes “unequivocally in equal rights for all.”
- Guido De Bortoli/Getty Images
Blink Fitness has more than 80 locations across the US.
- Katie Warren/Business Insider
Snark Park is an experiential exhibition space in Hudson Yards in New York City.
- Getty Images
Pure Yoga is a series of yoga studios in New York City.
- Thomson Reuters
Virginia Lam Abrams, the spokesperson for the internet service provider Starry, wrote in a statement to Business Insider that Related is only a minority investor and holds no board seat for the privately held company. Still, Related plays an integral role in their business.
“We work with Related Companies to connect their apartment communities with competitive, affordable broadband service,” she wrote. “In particular, they are an important partner for us in enabling Starry to deploy free and low-cost internet access solutions in their affordable housing portfolio, which is the largest in the nation. As companies, we are aligned with the shared mission of lowering barriers to broadband access and providing consumers with competitive alternatives to the incumbent monopolies. That is what makes Related Companies a great partner as we grow and expand our network.”
She added: “Mr. Ross’s personal political viewpoints and his decision to host this fundraiser are entirely his own.”
- Reuters/Toby Melville
Pocket Living helps first-time home owners navigate real estate in London.
Dog City is a dog day-care service.
- Katie Warren/Business Insider
Related Cos. invested $25 billion in the development of Hudson Yards, the massive real-estate complex in New York City.
- Astro-O/Getty Images
Shaun Osher, the founder and CEO of the boutique real-estate firm Core, shared the below statement with Business Insider:
“As a naturalized American who immigrated to the US in my twenties from South Africa, and who lived for years in fear of being deported while my immigration status was being sorted, I hope that Mr. Ross spends his time with the President advocating for the humane treatment of all people wishing to live here in peace, immigrants and non-immigrants alike,” he wrote.
He added: “I wish that all those attending the event push for the American dreams and values that brought me here in the first place. Anything less undermines the very idea of America’s greatness – a haven for those wishing to reach the highest potential for themselves and their families. The very reason so many of us risked everything to be here today.”
- Bobby Ellis/Getty Images
The Miami Dolphins are part of the NFL.
Hard Rock Stadium
Hard Rock Stadium is home to the Miami Dolphins.
Lola is a feminine-care company that sells organic tampons.
International Champions Cup
- Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
The International Champions Cup is a major global soccer tournament.
The Miami Open is an annual tennis tournament.
Drone Racing League
- Paul Szoldra/Tech Insider
DRL is a global professional racing league for drone pilots. It declined to comment.
- Reuters/Mal Langsdon
Skout delivers cybersecurity protection to companies.
- Outstanding Foods
Outstanding Foods makes popular snacks like Pig Out Chips.
Banza is a gluten-free-pasta company.
- REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Derris is the public-relations agency that represents buzzy brands like Glossier, Everlane, and Warby Parker.
FanVision develops mobile technology for car racing.
- Courtesy of Omaze
Omaze is an online fundraising platform.
Krossover is a sports-coaching service that offers post-game analysis and statistics.
Crossfield Digital develops mobile apps and websites.
- Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Radiate is a video-education company for C-suite executives.
NextVR is a virtual-reality company.
- Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Student Sports is a marketing organization for student athletes.
- JD Composites Inc.
June is a modern-appliance company that makes products for a smart and connected kitchen.
Shoshy Ciment and Irene Jiang contributed reporting to this story.
Correction: An earlier version of this story included a mention of PrimeSport, which is no longer part of RSE Ventures’ portfolio. PrimeSport was acquired by On Location in 2017.