Hyatt Takes a Stand Against Free Speech, Will Ban Disfavored Groups From Holding Events

After controversies this year about groups that have held events at Hyatt properties, Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian told Skift,

If a group is primarily focused on disparaging a group by virtue of their identity…that’s really where we need to draw the line. We’re going to apply our values to making these decisions along the way.

How does he define what constitutes “disparaging a group by virtue of their identity?” And what does it mean to be primarily focused on doing this? Hyatt meeting planners don’t merely have to divine animus towards a group identity, they also need to determine whether a group happens to be hateful, or whether that hate is their focus.

The fact that there is no clear standard here is underscored by the fact that they’re going to “mak[e] these decisions along the way.”

Earlier this month there was controversy over Hyatt’s hosting the ACT for America conference in Northern Virginia. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls them “an anti-Muslim extremist and hate group.”

Their Executive Director used to work for the Christian Coalition and the organization is generally pro-Trump and lobbies against the use of foreign (Sharia) law in U.S. courts. Would they be excluded under this new policy? By the way Hoplamazian himself just met with President Trump.

What about the event Hyatt was criticized for hosting earlier this summer held by the Muslim Congress at the Hyatt Regency Orlando? They hosted a speaker that Jewish groups call a holocaust denier. I’ve defended Hyatt when groups like this held meetings at their properties. Will Hyatt now deem the Muslim Congress unacceptable, or say it’s ok because there are other people speaking also and it’s not their primary purpose?

  • Will groups be vetted prior to signing meeting contracts?
  • Will groups have to have their speakers lists approved by Hyatt in advance?
  • If Hyatt later determines that their ‘values’ are inconsistent with those of an organization holding a meeting will the chain abrogate the contract?
  • They assure us this isn’t very many groups, but which ones? Will that list change in the future?

Hyatt says they care for people so they can be their best but only some people who agree with them? They say everyone matters, but only people who agree with them? Everyone doesn’t include people Hyatt doesn’t think believes that everyone matters?

Dan Peltier writes in Skift that “[t]he move follows similar stances by other hospitality groups, including Marriott last year.” However Marriott’s CEO actually made a stand for not picking and choosing conference groups based on the views held by those groups

The fact they are having a meeting with us and using our hotel does not mean we support their point of view. If I could wave a magic wand, I’d love to have it so that those types of groups never exist.

…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..

We are serving people from all around the world, from all walks of life, with all points of views, equally and with a genuine welcome, with people who are equally diverse. Our arms need to be open.

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 (even if they cannot decide for themselves whom to bake a cake for). 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.

Even Nazis should be able to hold meetings. And we should criticize them whenever and wherever they express their views. Simply shutting down their expression can easily backfire in terms of sympathy and making groups more cohesive since they feel under attack.

People increasingly want to shout down their opponents and deny them a voice, rather than countering that voice. That seems unwise to me.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The problem is businesses are judged by those they associate with. The world should be free, but then again hate shouldn’t exist. Therefore, private companies have the right to discriminate…even on the basis of what should be protected classes, as per the Supreme Court recently. Welcome to the new normal.

  2. You’re essentially asking that business be pressured to accept the business of groups they disagree with and of which association with may lead to reduced revenue if the public takes a stand against it.

    If you’re staying in a hotel and there is a Nazi convention going on in Meeting Hall A – you’ve created a clearly unsafe environment for certain segments of the population who may wish to stay at your hotel. Of course, anytime a business wishes to discriminate against customers you should start watching them very closely. But drawing a line at hate groups really shouldn’t be a polarizing issue.

  3. I agree that Hyatt should allow “hate” groups a place to convene as long as their actions at the event are not inconsistent with local laws. But I can totally understand the business aspect of this. It’s so easy for news of a Hyatt hotel hosting some “hate” group convention to go viral and have people screaming that we won’t ever stay at a Hyatt again. So basically, Hyatt is taking it on their own to police groups by determining which “hate” groups are fringe enough groups that it won’t affect overall revenue to reject them.

  4. I agree with David and Joelfreak.

    I have no problem with Hyatt’s actions here. If I showed up to check into one of their hotels and a group of Nazis (you brought up Nazis in your post, Gary) was being welcomed in to use the facilities and hold a rally there I would be out of that hotel immediately.

    Private businesses need to draw the line somewhere against racist and repugnant groups and this seems like a reasonable place for where to chose to put that line.

  5. Hyatt’s exercising its own freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of association, isn’t it? But these freedoms are freedoms from government intrusion, and Hyatt isn’t a government.

    This corporate act should make happy those people who feel corporations are like people too in having all the rights of real human beings in the same jurisdiction. 😉

  6. How about the Southern Poverty Law Center? They hate a lot of groups with whom they disagree.

    How about Democrats and Republicans? Ditto.

  7. @Gary, You are making this sound a lot harder than it really is in the vast majority of cases. And I think Hyatt’s policy primarily codifies past practice rather than changes it. Prior to this policy did Hyatt actually host meetings of the KKK and Nazis? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a banner in a Hyatt or other hotel proclaiming “Welcome Skinheads” or “KKK Breakout in Parlor A.” Hotels have always denied their facilities to groups they didn’t want for various reasons including the beliefs a group espouses. As you point out, hotels are private businesses. There is no first amendment issue here or other legal issue unless the hotel is violating a law or other constitutional requirement.

    Not letting the Nazis, KKK, or ISIS hold meetings at the local Hyatt in no way shuts them down or shuts them up. If only it were that easy.

  8. This is a slippery sloop Hyatt is going down and I agree with Art about Southern Poverty Center is Hyatt going to use them as their Moral Compass or NAACP? There are many of these mainstream groups that have their own agenda we can leave that one.

    No question KKK etc are certainly a group that we can agree on.

    Can we get back to traveling ?

  9. Government shouldn’t restrict speech but a business certainly should be able to do so. If you don’t like a business’ actions, don’t patronize the business.

    It’s very telling that we can’t agree on saying no to Nazis and white supremacists.

  10. “If a group is primarily focused on disparaging a group by virtue of their identity…that’s really where we need to draw the line.”

    Seem clear enough to me. Nazis and the KKK don’t get in. If a group generally works on issues in ways that don’t incite hate toward another group, they do. Having a single speaker who might fall on the wrong side of that line is ok, as long as they don’t represent the group’s general orientation.

    Yes, there will be hard cases. But there will be many more clear ones. And I applaud any business that denies Nazis, KKK members, ISIS sympathizers and other hate-mongers a platform or a venue for spreading their bigotry.

  11. How succinct and clear your argument is – you nailed it on the head and I agree 100%. Freedom of speech only means something when the speech of those you disagree with is protected ++

  12. That’s called capitalism, and hypocrite republicans/conservatives love to claim they support until it goes against their interests.

    Typical white trash “keep your government hands away from my food stamps”…

  13. The disjointed comments here are hilarious. Gary, I hope you understand that the modern liberal milennial believes that anyone who dares disagree with them is spewing hate speech, and they have no problem with denying them their rights. I’m glad to see that at least that you are not a complete unhinged leftist like most of your readership.

    As for Hyatt, I’ll be taking my business elsewhere.

  14. Freedom of speech doesn’t require that a private company necessarily offer a platform and loudspeaker for all speech/expression legally allowed by government.

    Let’s take the proverbial crèche of miles and points bloggers, namely Lots of speech/expression is banned there or subject to being banned. But does this blog take up a lot of issue with FT not allowing freedom of speech?

  15. I’m with the majority of commenters here. Hyatt is a private entity, not public. They can do as they wish, and if that means telling the KKK to pick another venue, I’m fine with that. Can you imagine what it would be like for a black family to stay at a Hyatt during a KKK gathering based in the hotel because they didn’t know about the gathering beforehand?

  16. Only banning that happens at Flyertalk is if one of the mods decides they don’t like you and you have the temerity to complain about it.

    Which, now that I think about it, is a pretty good example of the problems with banning speech generally. You never know when a power tripper decides to use their power to silence you.

  17. Gary, you know how you can tell you hit the nail on the head? By reading how unhinged the comments are.

    Yup, Hyatt is a private company. They can take any stand they want. That is all this is.

    Why believe this is anything more than virtue signaling? This is Hyatt, where everything is PC virtue signaling. Hyatt barely admits they are in the hotel biz anymore, they are so busy telling us how morally superior they are.

  18. The problem is definition. As Gary pointed out, but many people seem to have ignored or glossed over, Hyatt has not set any clear standards. By what standard or measurement will they ban people in the future? If it is not clear, then they can ban anyone they want on an ad hoc basis.

    This is especially problematic because the new definition of “hate speech” is any speech I find objectionable (just read Jonathan Haidt’s book – The Righteous Mind for the data). If banning “hate speech” means banning people who are trying to incite violence and physical or psychological harm to another group, then I think most people will have no problem with Hyatt, Marriott or any other hotel banning them.

    The reason this is such a hot topic is because people (the radical Left) have changed the definitions, something they are very good at. People are usually quite ok banning traditional ideas of “hate speech” – e.g. speech that engenders violence towards minorities, LGBT members, and other religions. People get upset though, when groups lobby those in power to ban groups or speakers just have different ideas or conclusions – which is the slippery road to totalitarianism.

    That’s what Gary is arguing and why he says he supports objectionable groups like Nazis holding a convention where they are discussing their own values and ideals – as long as they are not advocating another Jewish genocide.

  19. This blogger is all over the place. He says regulation is bad, that airlines should be allowed to do what they please even if they’re highly subsidized and use public and heavily subsidized airports to take off and land, but when fully private company which owns its land and doesn’t get subsidies does what it pleases all of a sudden it should be regulated?

    Sorry you can’t have it both ways.

    Let the market sort it out. If their decisions have negative repercussions for their business they will go bankrupt and that will take care of that. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to work — and it works. Unlike with airlines, Americans have a true choice when it comes to hotels.

  20. @ Ben

    It may be best if Hyatt doesn’t set a “clear standard” rather takes each case on its merit.

    Applying some common sense and logic really shouldn’t be that hard.

    There is an obvious limit to free speech – that boundary is when it incurs harm on others.

    People can argue and debate definitions and the constitution, relevant legislation (e.g. here in Australia) all they like, but the reality is that inciting hatred is harmful and risky behaviour – it creates victim(s).

    There is also the matter of truth in the age of fake news.

    The problem is that the right wing of politics has embraced the politics of hatred as an art form, is inciting negative emotional responses in place of rational debate on policy. Here is Australia there is no substantive policy debate under the current right wing government. It is swamped by the fear-uncertainty-doubt manipulation playbook.

    People that they don’t agree with are summarily disparaged as liars, lefties, greenies, etc.

    Hyatt has my business.

  21. I agree with you Gary. The people who don’t are generally throwing out the names of groups we all despise. But if Hyatt were to single out a group they embrace, how quickly they would turn!

  22. @Jake – I don’t think Hyatt should be *required* to take all groups. There’s nothing inconsistent about criticizing the behavior of a private actor.

  23. Free speech is against government censorship. Individuals or businesses can choose not to associate with whatever jackasses they want.

  24. @platy

    Hate speech is never easy to define and even less so now that the terms have changed. What constitutes “harmful?”

    Is it limited to physical harm or threats of physical harm? How about name calling? How about saying someone’s cherished ideas are wrong?

    Nowadays many people, especially young college age kids, think harmful is defined as espousing an idea that they find wrong or repugnant. Even very main stream ideas that many people hold and they will go and tattle to the authorities to bar speakers from being able to come on campus.

    So for example would you say a New Athiest (like Richard Dawkins) would be able to speak at Hyatt to present his views on how people who believe in God are stupid and deceived?

    If yes, then how about a religious figure presenting his or her views that marriage should be defined as being between one man and one woman?

    What’s the difference? Most likely is your own preference.

  25. I only remain on this site so I can continue to alert my readers and those involved in the civil rights movement that view from the wing defends Nazi’s, racists and homophones. I just talked about you disparaging the NAACP and Southen Poverty Law Project at a gay rights forum.

  26. Libs and the splc are as hypocritical as hilary claiming victims have a right to be heard (broaddrick, jones, flowers, wiley, lewinsky, williams, etc, etc, etc….)

  27. SadStateOfOurNation your post was vile and disgusting sadly emblematic of many on the left in this country. It’s also disgraceful that people can not have or start a conversation without politics and personal viewpoints or hatred coming immediately into play. And for the record I am a “centrist”

  28. Hosting hate-groups may be considered to foster the creation of a hostile work environment for host company’s employees whose ethnic and/or religious group identification/identity is under attack from the employer’s hosted clients and/or suppliers.

    So to mitigate for the risk of employee discrimination lawsuits related to the creation of a hostile work environment or other employment discrimination claims, it may make sense for an employer to distance itself from doing business with groups that may alienate employees with protected class backgrounds and undermine such employees work opportunities.

    Isn’t Hyatt the company that re-assigned/rescheduled Muslim employees’ employment times to cater to the anti-Muslim prejudices of some of their governmental guests at various Hyatt properties in and beyond the US?

  29. Ghostrider5408, are you familiar with the ghost riders from Birth of a Nation or a fan of the KKK? Come on, can you just say you’re neither Jewish nor non-“white”, the traditional bête noir targets of the KKK? 😉

  30. @ Ben

    I just advocated for debate based on reason and common sense (and a case by case consideration).

    From a corporate sense, you could, for example, simply apply standard risk analysis methodology – probability of unwanted outcome (in this case “harm”) and severity of impact: where does the event sit on the scale – now make your choice.

    You mention Dawkins – who just happens to bother to base his position on extensively argued materials. He happens also to be the second most gifted person I ever met in terms of presenting and conceptualising and then extensively researching and presenting a point of view (the first being the late Stephen Jay Gould). Faith based constructs are always going to lose out to evidence based scholarship.

    Ouch – a room full of humanists, rationalists, intellectuals…really dangerous stuff! What the (religiously dominated) right wing here in Australia demean as latte sipping intellectuals!

    Your counterpoint – “anti same sex marriage” – we just experienced here in Australia after the (right wing) government reluctantly held a national postal vote on legalising same sex marriage. Some organisations (since this is about corporate responses) were active and vocal – for example the CEO of Qantas. But much was said and published by the nay campaign, which was wantonly untruthful and hurtful.

    Nowadays many people, especially the older people sitting in positions of white privilege and behind a veil of right wing tropes think harmful is defined as espousing an idea that they find repugnant or wrong. Even very main stream ideas that many people hold and they will go and use their access to the suppliant right wing media to discredit and demean their detractors (rather than argue their case).

    Totalitarian? Yep – our right wing has drawn up ever more centralised government power using the convenient excuse of security (the fear-uncertainty-doubt card), demolished personal liberties, personal privacy, etc., in that process, and then abuses that power, and demolishes individuals under parliamentary privilege (read attacking their own Human Rights Commissioner) whilst rejecting (the left’s) calls to introduce an independent corruption watchdog (which we have in some states).

    Difficult times for a social aware corporate….

  31. Am I the only one who has noticed that some of the most hateful and reprehensible behavior lately comes from the unhinged liberals who run Ivanka Trump and Ted Cruz out of a Restaurant while having dinner with their Family? Barge and interrupt proceedings, often using hostile and vulgar language.
    Just because their hide is terribly chapped because they completely misread the American voter?
    And I read these completely off the chain comments blaming Trump for ridiculous things.
    BTW, I did not vote for Trump. Just believe the Left is unhinged, and too many Corporations buy into their hysteria.
    I am getting my popcorn ready for the tirades this comment will provoke.

  32. @ docntx

    Not a tirade. Just some common sense. So no popcorn required – just and open mind.

    No doubt the authorities would muster the relevant state disorderly conduct laws if relevant. I can’t find any reference to any actual arrests made in the Ted Cruz incident (and DC has disorderly conduct laws: Code 22-1321 and 22-1322 punishable as a misdemeanor up to $500 fine / 90 days jail).

    Sexual assault, on the other hand (since you mentioned Ted Cruz and the restaurant incident which relates to his support of the supreme court nominee) is a serious crime. It was a republican that referred your nominee for further investigation (not some “unhinged leftie”).

    And if you take the time to consider that an estimated 25% of women in US college are sexually assaulted you might realise why folk are standing up, exercising their right to free speech, and holding their elected representatives to account, and creating a stink when a supreme court nominee’s background is scrutinised by due process.

    Unless of course you think prevalence of sexual assault is a figment of the left wing’s imagination and, when the abused are brave enough to tell their story, make out that the perpetrators are the real victims and the abused a bunch of loons.

    You’d have company – our right wing government here in Australia stood against a royal commission into institutionalised child sex abuse (primarily by the catholic church) and now wants to strengthen so-called religious freedom laws to give even greater exemption from secular laws (read allow priests not to report child rape).

  33. @platy

    You are obviously well educated and I was not trying to stir the pot politically speaking.

    I was not in any way trying to attack liberals. My point was to say that the radical left has been indoctrinating many young people, mostly in colleges and among the liberal arts majors.

    I am on the right socially and am more in the middle policially, but I can see the dangers of the far right and their extreme anti immigration and ethnocentric ideals. I definitely do not support their ideals and would distance myself from them.

    However it seems that liberals are not able to do the same thing with the far left and their agenda. Would you agree? What do you not like about the radical left and what they espouse?

    As for Richard Dawkins, I’ve never met him, but I’ve read parts of his books and watched a few of his lengthier debates online. I have nothing against him and of course I find him very intelligent.

    My point in bring him up was to show how his views are against the vast majority of people in the US and around the world who are religious and/or spiritual. Yet most people would have no problem with him sharing on college campuses or hotel conference centers. In fact I know many Christian groups (like the Veritas forom) routinely invite prominent atheists to debate on campus.

    The fair and intellectually honest thing to do would be for people on the other side (so to speak) to do the same. To foster debate and critical thinking. Yet that’s exactly the opposite of what’s happening across American college campuses.

    Anyone who has a contrary view will be boycotted. Why can’t someone who is not anti-gay marriage but is pro traditional marriage speak on campus?

    I am not blaming liberals for what’s going wrong. I’m blaming a small minority of radical Left Wing people. It seems you just hate all the people on the right. Which is quite unfortunate.

  34. Wow, idiotic perspective. Healthy debate about economic systems, environmental standards, and school vouchers should be encouraged on both sides. But there’s no place to debate whether races are inferior. Stupid take, losing credibility.

  35. @ Ben

    It is unclear what you mean by radical left. Or how you manage an attribution that encompasses a presumed indoctrination in campuses and then makes some leap to claim that so-called liberals (whoever they are supposed to be) are somehow caught in a suppliant inertia in the face of these marauding youngsters.

    In any case, if these folk are smart enough to be on a college campus I dare say they are not so prone to indoctrination as you’d like to believe. Unless they are there by virtue of their parents’ wealth, not intelligence, of course.

    To the current right wing (political parties in power in US, Australia, etc), climate change science is anathema. Is that radical left to you?

    Here in Australia folk are protective of a universal health system (we call Medicare) whereas the right seek to dismantle it and transfer tax payers dollars to private insurance companies. In the context of the US, is a universal health care system tasked with providing equality of access for all considered radical left to you?

    Here in Australia the current Prime Minister (a religious person of pentecostal affinity embracing faith healing and such stuff) is on the record as stating he does not believe in a secular society (so we have a religiously pre-disposed and thereby unrepresentative right wing PM at odds with a fundamental part of our constitution). Is the notion that the constitution be respected rather than ignored by the PM top suit his religious proclivities radical left?

    And so to the major flaw in your position.

    The influencers of government are not the young and the college students. They are the rich, the corporations, churches, the party donors, the lobbyists, etc.

    And because of that the younger generations are increasingly dispossessed.

    Our current PM voted against a royal commission into our banking system 26 times in the Australian parliament until finally he was dragged by pubic opinion to face the need for due democratic process – the facts coming out of that process show gross criminal negligence and malpractice across the financial sector. Power to the banks. Wealth transferred from the younger and weaker in society to the richer and stronger (which is ultimately part of the great right wing con).

    So even if I subscribed to your presumptions about colleges being a hotbed of leftie radicals from a pragmatic position it worries me not if some young folk are passionately disposed. They do not hold the power.

    Actually I think their passion and engagement is healthy – you expect the young to be more idealistic and vocal.

    In my opinion we have a big problem generally with lack of political engagement in the community at large, a huge issue with trust with our politicians. So political passion and engagement is good.

    In any case, current right wing policies are fundamentally an act of inter generational theft (ballooning debt, inaction on environment, refusal to acknowledge cite science), so go shout out young folk – make yourself heard! Exercise your right to free speech (within the boundaries of he law).

    Consider the insanity of the UK Brexit vote – the younger demographic was a resounding no! So the younger generation has been lumbered with a destiny they didn’t want.

    You claim to be right of centre so you must have a real problem with the right wing governments of the US (UK, Australia, etc), since they are all pervaded with far right dispositions.

    Here is Australia a centrist right PM was leader oft he right wing government (Malcolm Turnbull) but stymied in any centrist policy by the vocal and powerful internal religious ideologues. The PM was rolled a few weeks ago by his own political party mid term to protect the far right’s agenda.

    It would have been nice to entertain your counter arguments without personal accusation that I am a “hater”, by the way – but there you go – ascribing a demeaning label to someone of a differing position (just as our right wing government is prone to do).

    FWIW I have personally held perfectly civil private discussions on politics, the economy, etc., with politicians of our right wing government (including the former Treasurer and current Deputy PM).

    As a final thought – the prevalence of religion is far less in Australia (where less than 1 in 6 go to church at least once a month) than the USA (where 48% believe in creationism). Yet the religious minority have a hugely disproportionate influence on our current right government.

    Which kinda brigs back to the core theme of an argued position – the right wing agenda is dominated by religious ideologues driven by belief systems, not reason. Which his why you’ll get a fully matured logical argument from a Dawkins, but your anti same sex marriage campaign, for example, is based on mistruths – ultimately you can’t defend a belief system against common sense and logic – a fundamental flaw of the right wing. So same sex marriage became law in Australia as the right wing government reluctantly acquiesced to the voice of the people.

    And therein the problem – how you balance right of freedom of speech with evidence-based reason, when folk want to abuse their right to free speech to abuse others by spreading lies.

    So in Australia we have a PM who is making blatantly untrue statements about access in our schools to teaching tools on gender issues, and thereby endangering as section of the community prone to 50% suicide rates, which some are trying to support (with the discretionary agreement of their parents).

    Free speech abused by a failure to present the facts in the interests of a religious belief system whilst abusing a position of political power. Classic right wing smoke and mirrors and disregard for the individual members of society.

  36. @platy

    I was trying to be civil and said it seems you hate the right, because you attack the current govenements in America and Australia which are currently controlled by the right. I didn’t mean to disparage you as a “hater.”

    You are blaming all sorts of ills on right wing govenements even though that’s not the nature of this blog post or of my comments.

    My main point is not whether the current govenements in the US or Australia are making decisions that anger me or that people may dislike. Thats not the point. That’s why I haven’t answered you on these topics.

    The main point is whether Hyatt’s decision was a good one. I agree with Gary that while it is legal and so they can make this choice as a private corporation, it is not wise because they have not set a clear policy on what they consider acceptable and unacceptable points of view.

    The result will be that they will probably cave to any future pressure by people who are unhappy about a certain group that wants to hold a conference there. So they will arbitrarily make decisions, which is not good policy.

    I added that this is symptomatic of what is happening on college campuses with young students. I am happy to encourage students to be passionate and active and involved in society and politics. I hope more do so.

    What I don’t like and is dangerous though is when students (or anyone) starts to change definitions. If hate speech means speech that targets another person or group for their race, religion, sexual orientation and encourages verbal or physical abuse, then I think that kind of speech should indeed be limited or outlawed. I would have no problem with Hyatt if they defined it like this.

    If however, hate speech is defined as speech that I find offensive and disagreeable (e.g. views toward illegal immigration, abortion, poverty, same sex marriage, etc.), thenI agree with Gary that Hyatt (and of course the government) should not limit this speech.

    For example if a nationalist group wanted to meet at Hyatt to share how America was founded by Western Europeans with Western European values and that America should keep its white majority demographic and Western cultural values and severely limit immigration, I would have no problem with it, Even though I am a minority and my parents came as immigrants.

    I wouldn’t agree or like what they are saying particularly, but as long as they aren’t advocating violently attacking immigrants, then I think they should be free to discuss their views.

    After all your posts, I sill am not sure what your position is. You said you in fact support Hyatt making decisions on the fly in an ad hoc manner, but I’m not sure why you think that’s a better way than having clear standards.

    If you truly are interested in what’s going on on college campuses, I again recommend Jonathan Haidt and his book “The righteous Mind.” He is an NYU professor in there Stern school of business.

    Finally, you didn’t answer my question on where the left can go too far. I’ve already said how the right can go to far. And yes I disagree with many things that the right has been doing (i.e. many of their policies on immigration, covering up of sex scandals within the Catholic Church, and President Trump’s moral character) though I don’t view President Trump as the Devil or evil incarnate.

    I am interested in what you will say becuase I haven’t gotten a good answer to this question yet.

  37. @Ben

    You keep referring to “the radical left”, but avoid defining what that means to you. So it’s impossible to determine what you mean by too far.

    But as a general point somebody goes too far if they break the law of the land.

    Those laws (such as those relevant to incitement) appear to be weaker in the USA (due to constitutional protections of free speech, notwithstanding Brandenburg vs Ohio 1969) than other jurisdictions (for example, the State of Victoria in Australia, New Zealand, UK, etc).

    Other laws may pertain, for example, public nuisance or equivalent in the case of a disruptive gathering.

    You make sweeping generalisations by young college people without offering any substance to make such.

    This appears to be a regurgitation of what you have read in the Haidt book, which, as far as I can tell from brief research, has intentions to provoke debate from a moral psychology perspective (with undoubtedly a host of attendant assumptions) rather than find solutions (that for would, for example, be of immediate relevance to a corporation like Hyatt).

    You disregard my counterpoints about the right, which are intended to show you that the very things you are claiming for the “radical left” and young people on college campuses abound in spades in the right and far more insidiously since that is where the power is held.

    You have misrepresented my position on the Hyatt situation – no, I didn’t advocate “decisions on the fly in an ad hoc manner”. I advocated a defined process with decisions made with due consideration (so not on the fly) with the application of measure to guide the outcome (so not ad hoc). I outlined a framework for such a decision based on commonly used risk analysis methodology.

    I don’t remember anyone else on this thread attempting a practical solution (?).

    The smart corporate player wouldn’t get sucked into the debate on definitions, etc., rather reframe the decision in a pragmatic way (e.g. from a risk perspective).

    A corporate has the freedom to set its own criteria on whether to accommodate a gathering. Of course, whatever it decides, there will be detractors and advocates – such is the nature of democracy and free speech.

    As a postscript – if the Haidt book addresses how the left to right political spectrum aligns with the psychological spectrum of empath to sociopath, it would be of interest, since that would be a potentially insightful application of psychology into the political realm. (In my experience, concepts of evolution are generally, but not always, applied in too superficial a manner).

  38. @platy

    I started to define the far right, but I will clarify. The far right are people who take nationalism to an extreme and advocate using force to reclaim national identity or heritage (i.e. facism in the 20th century). I am opposed to this ideology.

    Since it is clear that you are on the left, I’d ask you to first define what is the far left (radical left) and what they are doing that is going to far (I assume you agree that there are those on the left that do go too far).

    Of course breaking the law is a good starting place to talk about what is appropriate. But it is definitely inadequate – that’s why people are always trying to implement new laws or change old ones. It was legal to have segregation in the South and in South Africa, but obviously it was immoral to segregate people based on their skin color.

    As for misrepresenting your take on the Hyatt situation, that was not my intention. I wrote that you advocate ad hoc decisions made on the fly because your suggestion about using common risk assessment analysis is not adequate. To me that just sounds like corporate speak to confuse people. The Hyatt situation is analogous to a mining or oil company saying they don’t need to do a thorough environmental assessment because they will do risk assessment analysis as they dig and drill wells.

    It is important to set clear standards at the outset (i.e. for mining and oil companies that should be how they will not harm the environment or include the local community). That is what Gary and I and other commenters are advocating for Hyatt. Clear standards at the outset for how they will implement future bans on groups that want to rent their conference rooms. Otherwise it will be very easy for Hyatt to start restricting speak that is unpopular (or at least unpopular to the groups putting pressure on them), which is legal for them to do, but not moral.

    Also I did try to answer your questions about the right. I briefly stated some of the things I disagree with. I also do not deny that the right has done and is doing things that are not moral. Of course those in power sometimes (even many times) use their power wrongly and of course politicians and people in general slander each other and twist words and call people names (as you mentioned above). I do not deny that those things have and are happening among the right. As I would not deny that that has happened with the left. It is just more noticeable among the Right, right now, because they are the ones in power. But that can and will change quickly, as it has in American politics the last 100 years.

    Your argument seems to be that the right is worse than the left and you give a few cursory examples to back that up. My argument is that the far right and the far left are both dangerous, but in different ways. Most upstanding citizens of the US and Australia should be opposing both the far right and the far left’s agendas. Do you agree with that?

    Lastly, do you agree with my basic premise that hate speech as traditionally understood (I explained above) is to be opposed, but that the new definition of hate speech is wrong? (Basically the idea that any idea I find reprehensible and may cause me to feel threatened or insecure, is hate speech, and so should be restricted).

  39. @ben
    It doesn’t seem this interchange has anything other than declining angular momentum.

    (1) Since you are the one casting stones at the radical left, it really is your responsibility to clarify and define. You repeatedly have avoided such.

    (2) You have attributed behaviours and positions onto a demographic (young people in colleges) rather than a defined a specified entity (like a political party or political institute, etc.). Whereas I can point at an entity (the Australian Liberal Party, the UK Tory party, etc), provide evidence of their policy and actions, thus cite evidence and draw an inference – but you are stuck in the right wing PR name calling game (college kids are radical lefties changing definitions to nefariously suit their political persuasion)…whereas as there may be a general trend revealed by voting market research, from left to right with age, I can assure you that my experience at a number of universities (Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, Sydney, Queensland, etc) has revealed a wide cross section of folk and attempting an extrapolation from such base statistics would be a fool’s errand.

    So disappointing on both counts. I can call BS on both. Right wing smoke and mirrors.

    You are contradictory on your position on the right. You seem to accept that the current right wing governments are advancing policies which are distasteful to you, yet fail to recognise / accept that it is the new mainstream right wing that has embraced the former far (radical) right and “normalised it”: so for any meaningful comparison you have to compare the current mainstream right with the radical left (whatever your definition of the latter). Insodoing it has also swallowed up certain ideological religious elements.

    But the left is not in power (in USA, UK, Australia), so I fail to see how you perceive the notion of “going too far” can be applied in current context. I already gave you my definition of “too far” for everyday folk (such as students at a college).

    You recognise that laws can be changed, but remember the fact that it is the right that is in power (in the countries cited)– and is abusing that power in many ways already outlined, including, in ways of relevance to anyone left or right with an interest in democracy.

    I have consulted on major multi billion projects in multi national corporations and can assure you that risk assessment is taken every seriously, that it is a matured discipline, so can only take your comments on such as misplaced at best.

    Incidentally, a number of those projects were in mining (and extend to all aspects of the business, not just environmental / sustainable development assessment), so I’ll update my perception to your comments as utterly ignorant.

    You also fail to accept that a corporation can do what it wants (within the boundaries of the law). It is not functioning as an output of a theoretical academic debate.

    Similarly, corporations do not function to adhere to either self-ascribed or otherwise externally accepted moral codes. They are in the business of making money – maximise profit and lower business risk.

    They may have a guideline document outlining an ethical (not moral) framework, but this is entirely discretionary. So, for example, Qantas has such a document, which excludes seeking political influence (as do US companies like Bechtel), but Qantas maintains an exclusive VIP lounge (the Chairman Lounge) for such folk and sends them pricey bottles of wine, etc.

    The point is that this is ultimately not an academic debate (for a corporation). Nor a moral one.
    I do not agree that the current mainstream right and far left (whatever that means) are equally dangerous. That is because my analysis extends into observations about psychological alignment (far left = empathy and far right = sociopath) and that people seduce by the right wing agenda generally confuse sociopathy with strength. So I’d rather take an overprotected environment than an overprotected child rapist, demeaned immigrant, or financial giant.

    Regarding hate speech, I’ve already indicated to you that the legal framework outside of the USA is more matured with regard to incitement. I see the right changing definitions to demean their opposition and since it I the right that are in power, that is clearly where the danger lies.
    I’ve seen a number of left and right governments over the years and the trend is undeniable. It is the right which undermines democracy, free press, equality of access to health care and education, trashes the environment, etc.

    So no – deify the right and attempt to justify the left are no different at your peril. Seduced by the sociopathy of abused power – it’s reality exposed in lack of rational debate, demonisation of the younger and weaker elements in the community, protection for the big end of town. Good luck with that.

    In reality, most of the community probably hanker for a middle ground. I think we are agreed on that at least!

  40. So, Hyatt has hotels in the Middle East. Will they now ban local groups there that may call for the destruction of Israel, the subornation of women, etc? Somehow I don’t think so.

    SPLC is leftist political action group – anyone that does not exactly share their philosophy is a “hate group”. Also, how is correctly pointing out groups in the ME that call for the death of Jews, US Citizens, etc a “hate” response? Somehow the truth is “hateful”?

  41. @platy
    I agree that this conversation seems to be going nowhere unfortunately. Everytime I try to bring the conversation back to the topic of Hyatt and its decision (what Gary was talking about in this post), it seems you bring in a lot of other topics – e.g. politics in Australia, politics in America, the corruption of certain right wing governments. You also (one time) said you were offended by me calling you “a hater.”

    However if you go back and look at our conversation, I’ve tried to be civil, I’ve apologized for potentially offending you. It was not my intention to be hostile. However your writing style or approach feels very aggressive.

    I keep trying to find middle ground. I’ve been honest with my misgivings with certain political decisions by those currently in power in the US. I think that there are many things that I agree with on the left as well as on the right. I think the best synthesis on the environment, immigration, business, social welfare would integrate ideas on both sides of the political aisle.

    For example I do not think that America should just allow whoever wants to come in to our country to just come in. There needs to laws and we need to obey our immigration laws. However I think the rate that we currently approve people to come to America on a green card, for example, is horrendously slow and needs to be overhauled to let more people in legally (it took my uncle 20 years! to get a green card). I also think that it is unchristian and uncharitable to treat refugees and other asylum seekers the way we do at times. The obvious hard part is how to come to a consensus.

    In all of your posts you seem to think that the right (which you think has adopted the ideals of the radical right) is always wrong. That the right can do nothing good and has done nothing good, but just abuses power. Currently you mention that in many countries such as the US and Australia, the right is in power, which is true. But in America that wasn’t true just 2 years ago and there were still many problems and corruption of power at that time too.

    It seems to me disingenuous at best to think that the left has very little to no faults, while the right must bear all the wrongs – including the erosion of democracy. This kind of thinking will not allow for any progress in politics. This kind of tribal thinking (our tribe is good, everyone else is bad) is dangerous and hurtful and both the left and the right are susceptible to it.

    I’ll say when I think the left goes too far (I’ll define what I think the radical left is, because it seems you are unwilling too. I’ve also defined what I think the radical right is, which you mentioned but also didn’t define). The left becomes the radical left when people put the ideas of victimhood, intersectionality, and equality of outcome as the highest ideals.

    The result has been people who are very easily offended and who call everything they don’t agree with “hate speech”, people who value the ideas and opinions of others based on where they stand on the scale of victimhood and intersectionality instead of based on their logic and evidence (e.g. a lesbian, black, woman’s opinion and ideas are more valuable than a straight, white, males), and people who go beyond trying to get rid of immoral or illegal inequalities to trying to make everything equal. This is the radical left that I say is dangerous and whose ideology has been documented to be widely embraced in many universities, especially the elite universities, in America.

    Lastly I find it strange that you seem to need to “name drop” in order to bolster your position. On multiple occasions you’ve talk about the many politicians and people of power you know, the many prestigious universities you’ve studied or worked at, and the many powerful and rich corporations you’ve consulted at.

  42. I find it odd that no one raises the Civil Rights Act, in particular, Title 2, which governs public accommodations. I’m not an attorney who specializes in such questions, but do wonder if provisions of that Act might apply to Hyatt’s actions.

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