Hotels host meetings and events, and generally do not carefully vet the messages that will be shared or the people who will gather at those meetings to make sure they’re consistent with the values of their median customer, consistent with the values of their most vocal customers, or consistent with the values of twitter.
From time to time that becomes a problem, and seemingly becomes a problem for Hyatt (and, oddly, for the Hyatt Regency Orlando) relatively often.
Late Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson said it wasn’t his job to vet the groups they host and that you don’t want a society where he does that either.
The fact they are having a meeting with us and using our hotel does not mean we support their point of view.…Do we really want, as a society, for companies like Marriott and the peers in our industry and others to sit and make judgments or points of view on people sitting in our meeting rooms? I shudder to think that we really expect that my role or Marriott’s role is to say your views are not acceptable in our hotels and that another person’s views are..
Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian takes a different view, suggesting that Hyatt will “apply our values to making these decisions along the way” and that “if a group is primarily focused on disparaging a group by virtue of their identity” they won’t be welcome.
Unsurprisingly Hyatt gets called out on this. The Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport hosted the ACT For America conference which the Southern Poverty Law Center (itself cancellable) called “an anti-Muslim extremist and hate group.” Meanwhile the Hyatt Regency Orlando hosted the Muslim Congress, which featured a holocaust denier on its program.
Now the hashtag #BoycottHyatt is generating buzz on Twitter because the Hyatt Regency Orlando is hosting CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference. Former President Trump will be speaking there. A Pizzagate conspiracist who denies the existence of Jews was recently disinvited.
— Ms J Votes Blue! (@MsJVotesBlue) February 24, 2021
— USAAdvocate (@Alyon_Advocate) February 24, 2021
— taradavi (@d_taradavi) February 24, 2021
Ironically Hyatt, though a public company, is controlled by the Pritzker family. J.B. Pritzker is the Democratic governor of Illinois. Penny Pritzker was President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce.
Then again, some conservatives are unhappy with Hyatt, too, over CPAC – because Hyatt rules require guests to wear mask even where state and local mandates do not.
Somebody needs to ask Governor DeSantis, “Why Orange County, Orlando, Hyatt Hotels (all of whom are making decent coin from our CPAC soirée) are being allowed to enforce a militant mask mandate against his orders?”
— Mike Ford (@MikeFor10394583) February 24, 2021
Freedom of speech only means something if it protects the speech you hate. There’s no need to protect popular speech.
Hyatt isn’t government, this isn’t a first amendment issue and I think they should have the right to choose whom they work with and host for conferences. At the same time I think the first amendment model is useful in terms of whether to criticize someone for offering a platform or speaking venue.
People we disagree with should be able to hold meetings, and we should be free to criticize them. Simply shutting down their expression can easily backfire in terms of sympathy and making groups more cohesive since they feel under attack. And you may be the one on the receiving end next.