Looks like Hyatt might have reservations about hosting the Conservative Political Action Conference in the future.
Hyatt Hotels Corp. H, +0.20% released a statement on Sunday expressing concern about reports that the CPAC stage was shaped like a rune used by the Nazis. It also condemned CPAC guests who disrespected Hyatt staff for attempting to enforce social-distancing measures meant to curb the ongoing pandemic.
“ ‘Such symbols are abhorrent and unequivocally counter to our values as a company.’ ”
Photos of the CPAC stage went viral over the weekend after some Twitter TWTR, +0.67% users compared its shape to a Nordic othala rune, which the Nazis appropriated to “reconstruct a mythic ‘Aryan’ past,” Reuters reported.
Many social-media users bombarded Hyatt’s official Twitter account with requests to cancel the rest of the CPAC, or to address the controversy immediately.
Matt Schlapp, the American Conservative Union chairman and CPAC organizer, called the accusations that the stage was intentionally modeled after a hate symbol “outrageous and slanderous.”
But after former President Donald Trump had finished delivering the CPAC keynote address on Sunday night, Hyatt released the following corporate statement that didn’t exactly give the CPAC a five-star review. It did defend the hotel’s decision to host the conference, however.
“We do not always agree with or share the same values as groups hosting meetings and events at our hotels,” it noted, before describing its company values and culture as respecting a diversity of opinions and backgrounds.
“ ‘We were extremely disappointed by the disrespect many individuals involved in the event showed to our colleagues.’ ”
“When we learned that CPAC 2021 stage design had been compared to a symbol of hate, we promptly raised this concern with meeting organizers who strongly denied any connection to such symbols,” it continued. “Had we initially recognized the potential connections to hate symbolism, we would have proactively addressed it prior to commencement of the event.”
But it explained that it left the controversial stage design as it was because the conference was already under way, and the company was concerned about the safety of colleagues and guests in “what could have been a disruptive situation.”
That explanation didn’t sit well with some potential customers, however, who have since threatened to boycott the chain, and led Hyatt Hotels — controlled by Chicago’s Pritzker family, a Democratic Party powerhouse in Illinois and beyond — to trend on Twitter over the weekend and on Monday morning.
And in another statement to Reuters, the hotel group said that “all such symbols are abhorrent and unequivocally counter to our values as a company.”
The American Conservative Union responded to Hyatt’s statement in turn with an announcement of its own on Monday, vowing “we will not be canceled.”
The statement noted that Hyatt had approved the stage design and helped “collaboratively” to build the stage months before the conference, and that the hotel’s senior management had initially agreed that the charges the CPAC had shaped its stage like a hate symbol were “false,” and promised to share any statements on the matter before releasing them to the public. So the American Conservative Union was “shocked” by Hyatt’s late Sunday corporate statement, which “disparaged and defamed us.”
The Sunday night statement also reported that some CPAC attendees had mistreated the Hyatt employees who tried to get them to wear masks and follow the hotel’s safety measures in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than half a million Americans.
It said that “colleagues occasionally faced hostility from attendees who did not support our policies.”
“We were extremely disappointed by the disrespect many individuals involved in the event showed to our colleagues, as it is reflective neither of our own commitment to care for members of the Hyatt family nor of how we wish to conduct business,” it added. “We are tremendously grateful to our colleagues for their resilience and the care they demonstrated keeping people safe in circumstances that became increasingly difficult as the event evolved.”