Marriott Was Right To Host Odious Event Banned By CPAC, Calling For End To Jews, Praising Hitler

In the fall former President Donald Trump had dinner with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes. Several Republicans denounced the meeting. The white supemacist views of Fuentes are so outside the mainstream of conservatism that he was denied a platform at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), so he set up his own meeting around the corner… at the Residence Inn by Marriott National Harbor.

In all, a total of dozens of people attended to listen to the man talk about his love for Adolf Hitler (really) and his desire to eradicate the world of Jews, liberals, feminists, and satanists.

Lucky at One Mile at a Time doesn’t think Fuentes should have been able to rent the meeting space. and says that Marriott needs “to do better than this.”

I, on the other hand, kind of like that a conference room at a Residence Inn only large enough for a few dozen people is where Fuentes’ views are contained.

My thinking is informed by the Supreme Court’s National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43 (1977) which held that a refusal to allow neo-Nazis to march wearing Nazi uniforms and displaying swastikas violated their first amendment rights.

The ACLU represented the Nazis, because free speech is only meaningful if you’re defending speech you abhor. In response to the ruling, Holocaust survivors set up a museum along the planned march route to commemorate those who had died in concentration camps. They countered speech with speech.

In the end the march took place in Chicago, and not in Skokie. But the restrictions the city of Skokie wanted to impose were broad enough that they could have been used to prohibit Martin Luther King, Jr. from demonstrating as well. As a Jew, I support the tolerant approach more broadly than where the constitution simply limits government restrictions on speech.

Late Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson said that their mission of inclusiveness meant welcoming all points of view to be heard and that the hotel chain shouldn’t be in the business of deciding what views are heard.

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.

I far prefer that Marriott than the one that refused service to Uyghurs in order to align with China. On the other hand, I did want Marriott to take a stand and say that the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh shouldn’t be used as a torture site and if the government was going to kill people held as ‘guests’ there that maybe they’d at least deflag the property?

This isn’t an issue of free speech rights per se, the government isn’t dictating who can and cannot speak or meet at a Marriott. But it is a question of an open society. Hyatt, by the way, can be bullied into determining who shouldn’t and shouldn’t be permitted to host a meeting.

And just to show how complicated this is, ask yourself whether you want hotels deciding which groups to host? And then how you feel about businesses deciding whose wedding cakes to bake, or whose wedding photos to take?

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. I think there is a big difference between expressing views/free speech and spewing hate or death threats
    Consider myself open minded I don’t care if its a porn or hookers convention as long as its consenting adults that are not a threat to others.
    But any group comprised of hate speech or threats against others for violence should be banned in everyone’s best interest.Unacceptable.Maybe I’m missing something.
    Whats next we host Putin @ a Marriott for a Make Europe Great again speech without Ukraine as we once knew it? There has to be some line drawn in the sand.

    Giving platforms for any threats of violence or hate is just plain wrong even for the love of the almighty green stuff that lights up every CEO and corporate headquarters eyes.
    We have to have some kind of standard as a society.Even websites twitter etc allow so much free speech until they don’t.My two cents

  2. Where would you draw the line then? Child pornographers? ISIS cells? Slavery enthusiasts?

    If a restaurant can enforce a dress code, a hotel can enforce a no-Nazis code.

  3. @Tom – there’s little question that a business *can* permissibly choose not to host this group. Public accommodations laws won’t generally say otherwise.

    If someone is displaying, selling child pornography that is a crime. If someone is gathering to talk about ‘what is child pornography’ for instance parents that have gotten in trouble for taking photos of their young children in the bath (those photos set to upload automatically to google that then get reported as child porn) that seems pretty ok right?

    Regarding ISIS, going back to the legal analogy, advocacy of force or criminal activity does not receive First Amendment protections provided it is directed to producing imminent lawless action and is likely to do so. In other words, an ISIS planning cell is going to be committing a crime.

    Saying “you can’t rent our space for criminal activities” seems very different than “you can’t have a meeting here if we find you repugnant.”

  4. I strongly disagree. Marriott should allow dissenting views and for example I’d be against them not allowing people with hatful views staying at their property but to host a conference ? Marriott doesn’t need to do business with them and neither should anyone else.

    No relation to 1A

  5. @ Abey 1A does not govern private entities, from newspapers to hotel operators, who want the right to “edit” their environment..

  6. No they were not right….

    They were completely wrong. But I assume the money was good.

  7. Businesses can, and do, restrict “free” speech. They’re not a government. It’s a choice they make and they should face the consequences. That said what we’re doing here debating this only increases the visibility of this vile man Fuentes which is what these neo-nazis want.

  8. @Chris and others – Gary’s point (as I understand it) is that businesses like Marriott should be neutral in who they allow to rent the space provided there is no criminal activity involved. Sure this one could have not allowed Fuentes to use the space but there could be another Marriott (or other other) that doesn’t all a group of Jews or blacks to gather and speak. After all they are private businesses and can determine who to allow and not allow (I assume the blacks would be refused on grounds other than simply race since that would run afoul of various state and federal provisions.

    Bottom line is America is best served when ALL viewpoints can be expressed and discussed openly so that they are known and vile ones can be readily identified. Let’s end the cancel culture and avoidance of difficult discussions please.

  9. …so outside the mainstream of conservatism that he was denied a platform at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)

    I suspect that some mainstream conservatives, e.g., WaPo’s George Will, could plausibly argue that the current MAGA-fied incarnation of CPAC is itself so outside the mainstream of conservatism that it should be denied a platform… 😉

  10. I see this as a guest safety issue and, had it been my decision, I would not have allowed this person to speak on those grounds. His speech was going to attract like minded people. People holding those views pose a safety threat to other guests. Ergo, they should not be allowed.

  11. The foundation of a democracy is free speech regardless of who is offended. Anything counter to that is the promotion of authoritarianism. If they control the language, then they control everything and everyone

  12. Saying one group that’s 3% of the population controls nearly every industry and owns a disproportionate amount of wealth is fact. Just looking at social media companies: Facebook and Google were founded by Jews. From Randi Weingarten of the teachers union to the treasury secretary/Homeland Security secretary/the Attorney General to the Blackrock CEO to even the travel blogging space or wrestling news media it is the same story. Music publishing to Hollywood. Epstein to Weinstein.

    Saying the above is not discriminatory or hateful in any way. It is an indisputable statement of fact. If people have no problem with those who criticize that certain groups like Asians or native Americans are underrepresented in companies or media, they would have no problem talking about 3% of the population that is over represented in every category. From Harrison Ford to Scarlett Johansson it’s all the same story. Don’t liberals complain that minorities are underrepresented in certain areas. Overrepresentation also exists. It’s nothing new. It was this way in the 1920s.

  13. @Jerry — “Free speech” isn’t at play here at all. Marriott is a private company so that it could have denied access to this hate group without infringing on their constitutionally protected right to spew their venom.

    What folks of goodwill can do is to shun and marginalize both the hate group and Marriott as “punishment”, because “free speech is not the same thing as consequence-free speech. The former is guaranteed by the Constitution. The latter is not.”

  14. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That is the exact text. The hotel can bar any group it wants. Marriott’s late CEO is correct, in my opinion. However, he must realize that there could be repercussions to that decision that can affect the brand. For a company, brand can be everything! People have to discern for themselves if they wish to hear speech that they disagree with. If someone chooses to voice an opinion that doesn’t create a “clear and present danger”” (yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater) then let them speak. This nation is turning into a bunch of “wusses”. If what you do doesn’t violate, what the Declaration Of Independence states as my rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”…(NOTE PURSUIT..not GUARANTEE!) and I’ll add rape, murder and incest… knock yourself out. Just don’t make me, as a taxpayer, pay for it.

  15. We can’t see into the future, so we have no idea where this idiot’s beliefs will get us, but we can look back at the past and see what happened then when people like him were given free reign to give talks and speeches that spread hatred amongst those that listened.

    With that in mind, Gary, here’s a question for you: If you were transported back to Germany in the middle to late 1920s with the knowledge that you have now, and the same discussion (as the one we’re having now) was taking place with Adolf Hitler at the center of it, would you support the right of a hotel/venue to give air to his rabble rousing views? To give him the opportunity to spread his hate? If yes, why? If no, why?

  16. Rule of the majority versus rights of the minority…it’s a tension with no easy answers, especially when feelings are strong on both sides. I suppose letting this man speak shows just how horrible and stupid his views are, though most people (except maybe a certain dinner host) figured that out anyway. Marriott could have put up a sign saying that they don’t endorse these views but respect the right of all Americans to express theirs so long as they don’t call for violence. (He did, indirectly, but as recent history shows that is hard to prove too.) The best strategy might be just to ignore this fool and his cronies unless they actually do something. Without attention such people just wither.

  17. But the same people complaining have inserted language on Job applications in several states that clearly state ” If you criticize Israel, their policies and approve of BDS,You are not going to get the JOB.”
    What has a janitor’s job in Texas got to do with Israel?
    Control what you think and write?

  18. Not staying at Marriott brands


    THE OLIGARCHS AND FASCIST Fundamentalists are cohorts in snuffing out equality and liberty

  19. Marriott Made a choice this week to provide a venue to someone who promotes falsehoods and ignores basic facts. Concentration camps did exist and millions of Jews died in them. Attacks on Jews are on the rise.

    I’m all for people expressing their opinions of all kinds. There is a difference between expressing opinions and promoting fiction as reality.

    Marriott isn’t a philanthropic institution. They hosted something to make money, and rarely care about their paying customers.

    Marriott made a choice. I will make a choice to avoid Marriott.

  20. There is no question that Marriot has the right to admit anyone they want, no matter how abhorrent their views. And we have the right not to patronize establishments that admit gatherings that we find reprehensible.

  21. @Ziggy – great question! I’d worry that denying Hitler the venue would do more to attract attention to him and his views than denying the platform, although this is impossible to know ex ante.

    Remember that Hitler wrote Mein-Kampf while imprisoned (1923-1924). It’s popular to blame Hilter (anachronistically) and not Germans, but by 1932 the German people had voted the Nazi party into a plurality in the Reichstag.

    Knowing what I know now, as you say, if Hitler were to come to me as hotel/venue owner seeking to hold a meeting what would I do? I’d probably shoot him. Of course that wouldn’t change the conditions that supported Hitler’s rise to power. I’d just be making the bet what he was sufficiently evil there’d be a very low likelihood that his replacement would be worse.

  22. Did anyone actually read what was said by Nick Fuentes at the pro freedom conference instead of just automatically believe the label applied by anti whites, anti Christians, and anti conservatives?

    I can’t find one thing he said that is not objective fact. He literally repeated ownership and management statistics that said Jews control 1/2 or 2/3 of large institutions in the U.S. Can anyone dispute this? Is it incorrect to say 3% of the population has a disproportionate influence on American institutions, owns a disproportionate amount of wealth, and controls all industries. Have we forgotten that Zuckerberg is Jewish. Larry Page at Google is Jewish. Larry Ellison at Oracle is Jewish. The attorney General is Jewish. The Blackrock CEO is Jewish. Spielberg is Jewish. Kagan is Jewish. Disney CEO Bob Iger is Jewish. The list goes on and on. Why is it offensive to tell the truth?

    Why is it controversial to say what everyone is and see if there is inequity against the demographics of the country?

  23. Funny how the commenters who purport to support speech want to censor things that don’t purport with their views. A private business should be allowed to host a conference of black people that say the white man is the enemy just as they should be allowed to host Fuentes and their dumb rants. They can host Saudis who support more dictatorship as well. Likewise, they can decide not to host any of them because it hurts their bottom line.

  24. Marching in the street is different than a business. Private property, you are allowed not to rent to someone as long as you did nit refuse them as a protected class (being Nazi is not a protected class). You can refuse me if I intend to host a summit called BILL COSBY WAS IN THE RIGHT …

  25. An open society — and perhaps you don’t even like the Open Society Foundation(s) — doesn’t require that private companies or individuals play host to people or groups peddling views with which they don’t agree any more than an open society requires that any Tom, Dick or Harry should be able to enter your home and use a loudspeaker to announce from your home that “this is the home of a possible terrorist, pedophile or other sick criminal”.

  26. “I’d just be making the bet what he was sufficiently evil there’d be a very low likelihood that his replacement would be worse.”?

    I would make the bet that there were then enough people with such despicable anti-minority views as Hitlers, that the potential successors would want to out-hardline the hardliners and they would use your assassination to blame “the Jews” anyway. Just look what happens in India even after WW2 resulted in the defeat of the Nazis. And take what went on after the assassination of Indira Gandhi with sick pogroms aimed at Sikhs. Nowadays the pogroms are usually aimed more at massacring Muslims, and there will likely be more of that in the years ahead even under the color of democracy acting as handmaiden to fascism.

  27. @GUWonder – “An open society …doesn’t require that private companies or individuals play host to people or groups peddling views with which they don’t agree ”

    I don’t argue that Marriott is *required* to host such ideas, but I wouldn’t criticize them for doing so

  28. Marriott having a hotel hosting these bigoted nutcases doesn’t contribute to an open society. It contributes air to the kind of hatred that grows the space for the kind of populism upon which fascism is fed and feeds en route to trying to undermine traditional institutions of liberal representative democracy and to intimidate minorities and the supporters of minority rights to disappear the inclusion of minorities as co-equals in public live with individuals from the plurality/majority.

  29. Coming in late to the party with a stupid question but…is it guaranteed that Marriott would have known who / what they were hosting? Is there no chance this guy worked through a 3rd party with a generically-named LLC? Or told the hotel that his name was Fred and he was hosting a birthday party? Genuinely curious, not being an event planner and wondering if the hotel just got duped.

  30. In May 2019, The Hilton in Woodland Hills, CA was the location of a fundraiser for CAIR. The keynote speaker was Ilhan Omar.

    Hundreds of protesters were across the street from the Hilton.
    Hilton didn’t get the scrutiny that Marriott is getting.

    “ In 2007-8, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the terror financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. That case, in turn, led the FBI to discontinue its work with the organization. In 2009, a federal judge ruled that the government “produced ample evidence to establish” the ties of CAIR with Hamas, the Palestinian terror organization. The United Arab Emirates labeled CAIR a terrorist organization in 2014 (a decision that the Obama administration opposed).”

  31. @Tom apparently we draw the line at drag queens and saying the word “gay.” At least that’s where the line is drawn here in Florida. Telling a kid that eradicating Jews is okay but telling a kid what the word gay means is no bueno.

    Only in America…

  32. @DCS says:
    @Jerry — “Free speech” isn’t at play here at all. Marriott is a private company so that it could have denied access to this hate group without infringing on their constitutionally protected right to spew their venom.

    I submit you’re ignoring legislation other than the US Constitution. Being a private company doesn’t exempt Marriott from the provisions of the Civil Rights Act.

    You, others, and I may not agree with the views espoused by Nick Fuentes & Co, but we, Marriott and Mr Fuentes are expected to comply with the provisions of the Civil Rights Act.

    If I interpret Title II of the Civil Rights Act correctly, you’re on shaky ground at best when you assert that Marriott could have denied Mr Fuentes & Co use of their facility. Read the provisions below and then think carefully about your assertion. If they’re not enough, read the entire act.

    42 U.S.C. §2000a (a)All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

    42 U.S.C. §2000a(b) Each of the following establishments is a place of public accommodation within this title if its operations affect commerce, or if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by State action: (1) any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his residence; (2) any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment; or any gasoline station; (3) any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium or other place of exhibition or entertainment; and (4) any establishment (A)(i) which is physically located within the premises of any establishment otherwise covered by this subsection, or (ii) within the premises of which is physically located any such covered establishment and (B) which holds itself out as serving patrons of any such covered establishment.

  33. Sorry Garry, but applying the case of the National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43 (1977) to the Marriott permitting or refusing Nick Fuentes, et. al. to hold a conference doesn’t track. The situations couldn’t be more different.

    In the NSPA v. Skokie case a government was attempting to deny a group of people their First Amendment right of free speech and peaceable assembly on public lands. For the record, as a Jew myself, while I found the words of the NSPA hateful, I think the Court in rejecting the local government denial of permission to NSPA to hold their event was correct. For the Marriott, the conference was to be held on private property owned and operated by a publicly held corporation, so there are no First Amendment rights in play. Owners of private property, whether individuals or businesses are allowed to create their own rules of speech on their property.

    Moreover, another aspect of the NSPA v. Skokie versus the Marriott decision is significantly different. NSPA, while a thoroughly disgusting organization at the time, was not calling for the violent eradication of the Jewish people, but Fuentes is and has.

    In my opinion, no conference center should ever permit a conference where violence against anyone is exhorted. Fuentes was there to, in large part, violently eradicate Jews from the face of the Earth.

  34. @NL58 I make clear the difference between government actor and a private actor in the post and the comments, no disagreement there. However there’s a logic in that ruling that I think supports a private decision not to ban such a group from the premises. I do not have an opinion as to whether the Nazis at issue in the Skokie cases were ‘better or worse’ than Fuentes, both seem pretty darned repugnant.

  35. Doesn’t this blog moderate comments?

    Does the disappearance of comments on this blog constitute a threat to an open society?

    If moderating comments on the blog is acceptable, any reason why it wouldn’t be as acceptable for Marriott properties to moderate speech and expression on their grounds?

  36. @GUWonder – I never said it would be *unacceptable* for Marriott not to host the group. Are you intentionally misrepresenting me?

  37. I am just curious if you think Marriott properties should be less concerned about playing host to questionable content than your blog is concerned, and if so why there should be that difference between Marriott and the blog.

    I do know that for a long time this blog tried to avoid moderating comments and even now still takes a light touch to content moderation of the comments. But at some point even you seemed to have to adjust to the circumstances instead of sticking entirely to the philosophy that the marketplace of ideas can work well against repugnant ideas by way of allowing repugnant ideas to be openly they can be challenged.

  38. The point is @GUWonder that I don’t know the effect of banning a given group of attendees, does it get them more attention or keep them from having a voice? And what’s the consequence of denying them that voice?

    And the point I keep making to you is that I do not tell what Marriott what they should do in any case!

    I’d note as well that I do not hold out this space for rent, for what it’s worth.

  39. When Facebook bans people, it means the people it banned have less reach for their message and get less attention going forward.

    When the US designates a group as a terrorist organization, the terrorist organization gets hit by a headwind that grounds its messengers and messages. That is done to reduce the attention to the designated terrorists’ full messages and messengers.

    The idea that banning a group — even more so when the “ban” is basically a non-state action —will grow the “banned” group’s long-term
    reach and power just doesn’t seem to hold up nowadays.

  40. I wonder whether Marriott would allow a group that fomented the eradication of Mormons? I highly doubt it. Also, I wonder whether this is, can be or should be a corporate decision? Most Marriotts are franchises. So, the appropriate opposition to what was allowed might not be directed at Marriott, the corporation, but the franchisee of that particular property. À la Ben & Jerry’s in Israel. If Marriott corporate approved the meeting, I’d focus on Marriott’s Corporate. If Marriott’s franchise agreement does not give Marriott oversight over meetings that could tarnish the Marriott brand, I’d focus on Marriott’s Board and their lawyers.

  41. writer is tragically mistaken in confusing a private corporation deciding what behavior is too abhorrent to them for the government silencing your voice by arresting and persecuting you for your speech. why do these nazi sympathizing cultists never understand what Free Speech actually means?

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