David Chang Asks Momofuku Stakeholder Stephen Ross to "Reconsider" Trump Fundraiser

THR-DAVID CHANG_Photographed by Sami Drasin-H 2019
Sami Drasin

The celebrity chef and 'Ugly Delicious' host issued a plea to the private-investment mogul on his podcast Thursday while asserting he ""f***ing hate[s]" the current U.S. president.

Celebrity chef David Chang issued an expletive-laced plea to real-estate mogul and Momofuku stakeholder Stephen Ross to "reconsider" hosting a fundraiser for President Trump's 2020 re-election campaign on his podcast Thursday.

The Momofuku founder and Ugly Delicious host, who told listeners he "fucking hate[s]" Trump, postponed an interview with Jim Kim, former president of the World Bank and Dartmouth College, to provide a statement on Ross' planned fundraiser on his David Chang Show podcast. "Steve if you're listening, and I know you listen to this podcast sometimes, I respect and admire you as a businessman...but I'm imploring you to reconsider hosting this fundraiser," Chang said on his Thursday show. "It flies in the face of everything we believe at Momofuku. it frightens many of the people that work for you, and it contradicts much of what I hoped to accomplish by taking your money in the first place."

The portfolio of Ross' RSE Ventures investment firm includes Momofuku alongside Resy, Milkbar, Bluestone Lane, & Pizza, SoulCycle and Equinox. Celebrities including Chrissy Teigen and Billy Eichner have called for a boycott of SoulCycle and Equinox following news of Ross' planned fundraiser.

At the top of his show, Chang was clear about his political positions: "I personally am a staunch opponent to President Trump and everything he stands for. I fucking hate him: anyone who 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." While he said the situation was "complicated" for him, he acknowledged that "it raises a lot of questions for people who have dined at our restaurants and supported us over the years, watch our shows and listen to this very podcast."

The chef then proceeded to address his Momofuku employees and restaurant-industry peers, saying, "I have always worked to champion a safe, open, diverse, equitable and safe world at Momofuku.... Simply put, to work in the restaurant business is to embrace people from all walks of life and cultures. That is the very thing that makes this business, which is so dumb, fantastic at times."

Chang added that he didn't expect all his employees to support his political beliefs and didn't have a problem with that "so long as you are respectful to your colleagues and dutiful to your responsibilities."

To his customers, he said that he wouldn't "sugarcoat the situation" or "pander" by explaining why he went with Ross as an investor but asserted his culinary brand was "on the wrong side here." He added, "The fact is, our investor is supporting the campaign of a person I emphatically stand against.... No one's more fucking pissed off than me." Finally, Chang encouraged patrons to DM the restaurant brand or email him personally to express problems they had with the scenario.

In addition to his work at Momofuku and podcast-hosting duties, Chang is the host of Ugly Delicious and the forthcoming Netflix series Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, which will show Chang and a celebrity guest eating across one city, examining its idiosyncratic culture in the process, over the course of a single day.