After a controversy over his fundraising for Donald Trump, Stephen M. Ross, the real estate billionaire of Hudson Yards infamy, has stepped down from The Shed’s board of directors. Hyperallergic reported last week that The Shed, a contemporary arts center which opened this past April in Hudson Yards, confirmed Ross’s departure “to focus on his other philanthropic activities.”
The development mogul, whose organization, The Related Companies, is associated with the luxury fitness brands SoulCycle and Equinox as well as the Momofuku and Bluestone Lane franchises, has been at the center of protests after it was unveiled in August that he was planning to host a fundraiser for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Ross, a longtime Republican donor, defended his track record as “an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education, and environmental sustainability.”
As previously reported, in addition to facing boycott threats, several high-profile designers backed out of shows to be hosted at The Shed amid the controversy and artists staged on-site protests of Ross’s history as a donor.
The Shed itself has also faced its fair share criticism. It recently announced its 2020 line-up featuring a diverse group of voices such as Claudia Rankine and British playwright Arinzé Kene. In the wake of Ross’s departure, a spokesperson for the art space told Hyperallergic they were “grateful for his service and his important role in helping found The Shed.”