Stephen Ross, the real estate tycoon behind New York’s $25-billion Hudson Yards development, which includes the infamous “Vessel” and the Shed arts center, is under renewed scrutiny. According to reporting by the Washington Post, the billionaire will be hosting a fundraiser for U.S. President Donald Trump at his Southampton home on Friday. The money raised will go to Trump Victory, a committee for the 2020 campaign and Republican National convention.
Ross’s fundraising event—tickets for which cost up to $250,000—comes on the heels of Donald Trump’s hateful comments implying that four congresswomen of color should go back to the countries “from which they came,” and amid increasingly dire conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border owing to Trump’s immigration policies.
In response to the news, LGBTQ activists, model Chrissy Teigen, and numerous others have taken to social media to call for a boycott of Ross’s businesses, which also include the spin class chain SoulCycle and high-end gym Equinox. One particularly incensed tweet from comedian Billy Eichner reads: “Hey @Equinox - what’s your policy for canceling memberships once a member finds out your owner is enabling racism and mass murder?”
Beyond the luxury exercise business and philanthropic giving to hospitals and universities, Ross is a presence in the art world. He is on the board of the Shed, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and was previously a trustee at the Guggenheim Museum, according to ARTnews.
With news of the Trump event, Ross became the latest arts philanthropist to garner attention for his controversial dealings beyond the cultural sphere. In July, Whitney Museum trustee Warren Kanders stepped down from his position after mounting pressure from activists. Kanders owns weapons manufacturer Safariland, which produced tear gas used at the U.S.-Mexico border. Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, and Tate museums group decided to stop accepting money from the Sackler family, who have been accused of profiting from the opioid crisis. The Louvre went a step further and removed any mention of the family’s name from its galleries.