A lawyer representing the American Conservative Union blasted Hyatt Hotels Monday and accused the chain of caving to a false narrative that the Conservative Political Action Conference held in Orlando over the weekend built a stage that included Nazi imagery and symbolism.
On Sunday, social media users claimed that the CPAC stage was designed after a Nazi-era “rune” and called out Hyatt for allowing the annual conservative event to be held at one of its hotels.
— Morgan J. Freeman (@mjfree) February 27, 2021
Others, including actress Alyssa Milano, expressed similar claims that the CPAC stage was fashioned after a Nazi symbol.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) February 27, 2021
The hotel chain initially responded with a statement that said it supported “inclusivity” and diversity of views.
“We take pride in operating a highly inclusive environment and we believe that the facilitation of gatherings is a central element of what we do as a hospitality company. We believe in the right of individuals and organizations to peacefully express their views, independent of the degree to which the perspectives of those hosting meetings and events at our hotels align with ours,” the statement said.
But after the initial statement did not appear to mollify critics, the chain put out a second statute that appeared to blame the ACU and CPAC for the stage’s design.
“We take the concern raised about the prospect of symbols of hate being included in the stage design at CPAC 2021 very seriously as all such symbols are abhorrent and unequivocally counter to our values as a company,” it said.
“The CPAC 2021 event is hosted and managed by the American Conservative Union that manages all aspects of event logistics, including the stage design and aesthetics. We discussed directly with ACU leadership who told us that any resemblance to a symbol of hate is unintentional,” the second statement continued.
That drew an angry response from ACU General Counsel David Safavian, who wrote a letter to Hyatt CEO Thomas Pritzker chastising the chain for blaming CPAC.
“Contrary to Hyatt’s own mission statement of inclusivity, your company just attacked its own customer by caving into the pressures of the politically motivated social media agitators who seek to destroy CPAC,” he wrote.
“Hyatt made a decision to issue additional statements late last night after the conference ended that disparaged and defamed us. These statements appear to validate demonstrably false and malicious claims,” Safavian added.
— CPAC 2021 (@CPAC) March 1, 2021
He went to say that the hotel actually played a key role in designing the stage.
“For months we have collaborated with your team on logistics, including sharing, reviewing, and approving the stage design that was created by one of our subcontractors,” wrote Safavian. “The fact that no one on the Hyatt staff ever raised concerns during the process shows the ridiculous nature of your statements.
“Moreover, your statements falsely conceal your oversight role. In fact, the Hyatt Hotel, with our organization and subcontractors, approved and worked collaboratively to build this stage. Only after a coordinated far-left assault to destroy our conference arose did you succumb to lies and compound them with your own,” he added.
“Our Jewish board members, staff, speakers, and attendees are appalled by the Hyatt leadership for not standing with us as we fight against anti-Semitism (a term that Hyatt fails to use in its statements),” the ACU counsel wrote. “It is tragic and reckless that Hyatt would choose to abandon its own mission statement of inclusivity and play into the hands of those who are attempting to silence legitimate political views.”
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