When news broke this week that billionaire investor and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was hosting a high-dollar fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, most of the outrage surrounded his ownership of the national fitness clubs Equinox and SoulCycle. The fact that Ross also has a significant stake in David Chang’s Momofuku restaurant group mostly went under the radar.
Chang began by explaining Ross’ role as an investor in his company. “I personally am a staunch opponent to President Trump and everything he stands for,” he told listeners. “I fucking 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.”
He went on to say that he has “always worked to champion a safe, open, diverse, equitable and inclusive world at Momofuku” and vowed to “double down” on that commitment in light of the news about Ross.
“Talk is cheap, we must show it in action,” Chang said, before adding that he doesn’t expect everyone who works for him to share his political beliefs. “So long as you are respectful to your colleagues and dutiful to your responsibilities, you’ll have a place at our company,” he said, “even though I hate Trump.”
Speaking to his patrons, Chang said he wasn’t going to “sugarcoat” the situation or “pander” to them—perhaps a veiled reference to the way Equinox dismissed Ross as a “passive investor” in its official statement on the matter.
Then Chang sent a message to Ross personally, in case he was listening. “I respect and admire you as a businessman,” he said. “You have been a champion of all the values of Momofuku. You’ve done a great deal for us as a company and I truly appreciate it.”
Once the flattery was out of the way, he continued, “I’m imploring you to reconsider hosting this fundraiser. 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.”
“No one is more fucking pissed off than me,” an audibly furious Chang concluded. “The last thing I want, the thing I ever thought I’d have to do, is defend my stance against fucking Trump.”