A Facebook friend who lives in NYC posted these comments and I agree completely. Thought it was worth sharing,
Harvey Spevak is the Executive Chairman/Managing Partner of Equinox. While not disavowing Stephen Ross here, he certainly downplays the sphere of influence and does little to address what the main concern was for members.
This letter, in my opinion, is a textbook case of how NOT to manage a crisis. I know that in my gym alone there were more than 75 cancellations as of the start of this week and that number was growing. I also heard that the West Village location had many more than that. As for the rest of their locations across the country, I have no idea but I am imagining that cancellations were coming in fast and furious. [They were.]
The problem is several fold—but among the issues are this:
Both Equinox and Soul Cycle seem to feel that by giving money to charities that somehow makes the Ross fundraiser go away. It does not. It really does not. Frankly, if the company had been living the values that Spevak espouses in this e-mail then there would not be grand pronouncements about raising money for multiple charities.
The brand cannot be separated from an investor as powerful as Stephen Ross –again my opinion.
While true that we generally don’t know what corporations do with our money, once it becomes clear what they are doing then we have a choice and a right to decide not to do business with them.
There has been some gaslighting going on pretty consistently in the last week and the reason it has blown up on them is because the clientele they are marketing to is smart enough to see it and call them out on it.
Here’s the letter,
To our Equinox Community,
“The last week has been difficult for all. I am sorry for the impact it has had on our community – and I’m sorry we haven’t said more. We have not been ignoring the situation. I have been in our clubs listening to our teams and members. I really appreciate the open and honest feedback I received. It’s been heartfelt and, in many instances, emotional. I’m proud that even during this difficult time our community is one that listens and respects each other.
Many of you have asked for clarification on Stephen Ross’s investment in Equinox. Mr. 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.
When I joined Equinox over 20 years ago, I worked with our then small team to create values that would guide us forward. They are the foundation of our culture, a culture based on equality, diversity, inclusivity, integrity, empathy and mutual respect. A community where everyone is welcome.
We live our values every day, which means giving back to the communities that have given us so much. We have helped Cycle for Survival raise $42 million for rare cancer research this year alone. We have trained injured veterans returning from war zones to climb the seven highest summits through The Heroes Project. We have partnered with Move for Minds to raise funds and awareness around brain health and women-based Alzheimer’s research. We have worked with The Felix Organization, a charity focused on enriching lives of children in foster care. And we have been a proud partner of House Lives Matter, supporting the House Ballroom Community comprised of sexual and gender minority people of color (LGBTQ and gender non-conforming). Every one of these commitments was started with a single idea reflecting the priorities of our members and employees.
While I don’t have all the answers, what we have heard from many of you is that you would like Equinox to immediately help amplify your voice in support of causes we as a community have always held close. As a next step, Equinox will make a $1 million donation to benefit the five charities mentioned above. From August 17 through August 31, every check-in will be an opportunity for our members and employees to select how our donation will be allocated among the causes.
I want to thank our amazing team and all they do in service of you, our members. It pains me to see how this has been impacting them and I am truly grateful for their commitment, passion and dedication. We will continue to listen to your thoughts and ideas, and while we have a lot of work to do, I am confident that together we will come out a stronger community.”
With gratitude, Harvey Spevak
EQUINOX | Executive Chairman, Managing Partner
Another Facebook friend had this to say, in part…
Judy Turchin is a lovely person. She was clear and kind and sad and empathetic and proud on the call I had with her… She’s the COO of Equinox.
She jokingly asked we not record our chat, and I too, oddly, am choosing to keep most of the chat personal.
She and equinox and the awesome queer folks and allies who work there are hurting. I felt that intensely in our call.
… I know [Stephen] Ross gives to Democrats. He feels this is moral for him: to stand up for his beliefs. Though Jewish, his beliefs are cushioned by his privilege. White. Male. Filthy fucking rich. I respect his stand. But, he’s blind to this privilege. Obviously. But I do respect his stand.
I don’t doubt the goodness of Equinox. But this not politics as usual. This is a president stripping rights away from trans family, the environment, protected animals, and one who is inciting mini-racial wars while caging babies.
Babies in fucking cages.
If Judy and Equinox rise to the occasion, literally censuring or publicly denouncing him, I’ll be back.
If they stay in the in-between, I’ll feel sad and unheard. I’ll feel let down … That dollars and job security matter more in a world of caged children on our soil.
To Ross, this is business as usual. To me, anything but.
I want Equinox to decide if they think more like me or more like him.
I could come back. But right now, this is an easy decision. No way.
I’ll have to find that safe space somewhere else. Hopefully, with others looking for that same net.