Equinox Says It Will Donate $1 Million After Being Burned by Boycott Over Multi-Million Dollar Trump Fundraiser
Equinox says it will donate one million dollars to several charities in the wake of a star-studded boycott ignited when the majority owner, founder, and chairman of the fitness club’s parent company, Stephen Ross, held a high-value donor fundraiser for President Donald Trump. The RNC bragged that the two Hamptons fundraisers Trump attended last Friday, one hosted by Ross, netted $12 million – two million more than projected.
Stephen Ross also owns the Miami Dolphins in addition to The Related Companies, a multi-billion dollar real estate development firm he started in 1972. Ross reportedly is worth $7.7 billion. The Related Companies purchased Equinox in 2005, but TIME notes “Equinox is a privately held company, making it difficult to fully assess its financial relationship with Ross.”
Newsweek on Thursday reported the charities that will benefit from the donation:
Cycle for Survival, which funds research into rare cancers, The Heroes Project, which benefits injured veterans, Move for Minds, an Alzheimer’s research organization, the Felix Organization, a charity focused on enriching children in foster care, and House Lives Matter, which supports the LGBT House Ballroom community.
In an email to members Equinox executive chairman Harvey Spevak last week said Ross “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.”
Equinox has insisted Ross is merely a “passive investor” in the luxury fitness brand. Ross says he has “always have been an active participant in the democratic process.”
And while some news reports show Ross’ allies defending him – Trump last week called him a “great friend” who is “probably more inclined to be a liberal” – several reports reveal Ross is a more active participant, at least financially, in the Republican political process.
“In the current election cycle, Ross has given just under $50,000 [to] the Republican National Committee (RNC) and $33,600 to [the] National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). He gave $10,000 to the Democratic Party of Virginia,” according to a deep dive by GayCityNews,
That is just the tip of the conservative money iceberg.
GCN details donations to Republicans and conservative PACS in 2017-2018 totaling just under $400,000.
Between 2015 and 2016 Ross donated over $550,000 to Republicans or conservative PACs.
And while Ross has donated to Democrats, the vast majority of his contributions in recent years appears to be to Republicans and conservative PACs.
Ross has called himself “an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education and environmental sustainability.”
Equinox and SoulCycle’s Billionaire Owner Faces Backlash and Boycotts Over $250,000 a Person Trump Fundraiser
‘Smug’ Trump Kicks Off 10 Day Golfing Vacation With $10 Million Mega-Donor Hamptons Fundraisers
As Trump Fundraiser Becomes Massive Headache for Billionaire SoulCycle Owner His Company Blocks List of Businesses
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Jim Jordan Busted for Helping Trump ‘Tamper’ With Probe: ‘Beyond All Bounds of What’s Legal’
Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg rebuffed a Republican House demand for a peek inside an investigation involving Donald Trump as “unlawful,” and MSNBC’s Al Sharpton agreed it amounted to “tampering.”
Bragg’s general counsel denied a request for documents and an interview with the district attorney by Judiciary, Oversight and Administration Committee chairs Jim Jordan (R-OH), James Comer (R-KY) and Bryan Steil (R-WI), calling the congressional inquiry an “unprecedented” intervention into a pending local prosecution undertaken at Trump’s request.
“Any man that is up in the middle of the night, that is going with this kind of language, is scared to death,” Sharpton said of Trump, who has been posting highly provocative online attacks against Bragg. “The problem, though, is that he is inciting people, no matter how small they have become as a crowd, to do something. Add that to him having the photo of the bat at a sitting prosecutor, I mean, it’s unimaginable. You’re right, we’d be arrested for that.”
“We have chairmen of committees telling a prosecutor, who is in the middle of an investigation, to come and give us the evidence,” Sharpton added. “I mean, they’re really tampering with an investigation. This is not an investigation that’s concluded. Before we know whether there is an indictment or charge, they’re saying bring us the evidence? I mean, this is unheard of. What is Jordan talking about? They’re in the middle of a grand jury proceeding. You want the prosecutor to leave the proceeding and tell me the evidence you’re giving, and we’ll put it on national television so the target can understand the evidence? I mean, we are going beyond all bounds of what is legal, what is respectful, and we have a man who is scared to death, that is up in the middle of the night inciting violence, having a photo with a bat, because he’s scared to death he’s going to have to face this prosecution.”
READ MORE: Trump is ‘out of his mind scared’ after late-night outburst : Morning Joe panel
Watch the video below or at this link.
Lindsey Graham Admonished by Senate Ethics Committee
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been formally admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee for violating ethics rules and standards by repeatedly soliciting campaign donations during an interview at the Capitol.
The bipartisan committee issued Graham a Public Letter of Admonition after the South Carolina Republican solicited donations for Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker.
“Based upon all available information, the Committee concluded that on November 30, 2022, you conducted a media interview with Fox News in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building and that your interview was slightly over nine minutes, with over four minutes devoted to a discussion of the 2022 senatorial run-off election in Georgia. The Committee further concluded that during your discussion of the senatorial run-off election, you directly solicited campaign contributions on behalf of Mr. Walker’s campaign committee, www.teamherschel.com, five separate times.”
The letter notes that Sen. Graham had previously violated the same standards when he solicited campaign donations in a federal building in October of 2020, but said it was an “unplanned media interview.” When a reporter had asked him about fundraising, Graham “directly solicited campaign contributions” for his re-election campaign.
READ MORE: Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing
The Committee noted “mitigating” circumstances and did not cite him for that violation.
“The public must feel confident that Members use public resources only for official actions in the best interests of the United States, not for partisan political activity,” the letter concludes. “Your actions failed to uphold that standard, resulting in harm to the public trust and confidence in the United States Senate. You are hereby admonished.”
CNN’s Manu Raju posted the letter to social media.
You can read the letter below or at this link.
In a letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham, the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee admonished him for soliciting campaign contributions five times during a media interview in the Russell Senate office building. It is against Senate rules to solicit campaign donations on Capitol grounds pic.twitter.com/amc5ipcosw
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 23, 2023
‘Repercussions’: Biden White House Warns Uganda ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Could Force US to Cancel $950 Million in Annual Aid
The Biden administration may cancel the $950 million in annual assistance the U.S. provides to Uganda if President Yoweri Museveni signs into law its latest “Kill the Gays” bill, which calls for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and between ten and 20 years in prison for other LGBTQ “acts.”
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby on Wednesday made clear if Uganda further criminalizes homosexuality and the LGBTQ community there could be “repercussions that we would have to take.”
“That would be really unfortunate because so much of the economic assistance that we provide Uganda is health assistance,” Admiral Kirby said at a White House press briefing.
National Security Council’s John Kirby suggests the U.S. would consider economic punishments if Uganda’s law criminalizing LGBTQ people goes into effect:
“That would be really unfortunate because so much of the economic assistance that we provide Uganda is health assistance.” pic.twitter.com/hWrRrHqd6q
— The Recount (@therecount) March 22, 2023
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also told reporters Wednesday the Biden administration has “grave concerns” over the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), and “increasing violence targeting LGBTQIA+ persons.”
READ MORE: Florida GOP Lawmaker Who Wrote ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Facing Up to 35 Years After Pleading Guilty in COVID Fraud Case
“If the AHA is signed into law and enacted, it would impinge upon universal human rights, jeopardize progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, deter tourism and invest in Uganda and damage Uganda’s international reputation,” Jean-Pierre warned. “The bill is one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world.”
WH Press Sec. Karine Jean-Pierre denounces the Ugandan parliament’s passage of a bill criminalizing LGBTQ people:
“If the AHA is signed into law and enacted, it would impinge upon universal human rights … The bill is one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world.” pic.twitter.com/WSzCY5Vlq4
— The Recount (@therecount) March 22, 2023
Kirby and Jean-Pierre’s remarks came on the same day as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” legislation, saying it “would undermine fundamental human rights of all Ugandans and could reverse gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”
“The United States provides more than $950 million in aid to Uganda each year, according to the State Department. The money supports development and health care measures, such as combating HIV/AIDS,” Courthouse News reported Wednesday. “Uganda is already among 30 African countries that ban same-sex relations. The new proposal would broaden penalties and appears to be the first to outlaw identifying as LGBTQ+, according to Human Rights Watch.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
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