NEWPORT, R.I. — An exclusive Rhode Island beach club tied to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, has broken its silence to defend itself from claims that it only allows white people after the controversy garnered national attention.
Bailey's Beach Club in Newport said in a statement Wednesday that the recent characterizations are "inaccurate and false."
The organization said it has included "people of many racial, religious, and ethnic backgrounds" from across the globe who come to summer in the famous coastal destination.
Jack Nolan, the club's general manager, told The Providence Journal that the club's membership is private.
According to WPRI-TV, club president Alexander Auersperg sent a message to members on Wednesday saying that the club does not "discriminate against any race, religion, or ethnic background when it comes to our membership process or to the hiring of our staff."
The club has been in the spotlight since a local news outlet asked Whitehouse about his club membership and if all of its members are white. Whitehouse said the club was working on diversifying membership and that he's "sorry it hasn't happened yet."
Whitehouse has since clarified that the club does have non-white members and added that while he is not an official member, his wife is a prominent member of the institution.
On Wednesday, Whitehouse also disclosed that he belongs to a sailing club that does not have a diverse membership, adding that he's committed "to working with the club and the community to build a more inclusive membership and to better connect with the local community."