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.
In another clip from his livestreamed Marriott speech, Nick Fuentes says Jewish people are "half, or two thirds, or three quarters" of various institutions.
After meandering about the other portion, he concludes, "That's a long way of saying, I love Hitler!" again to cheers. pic.twitter.com/Ylj1KVetxf
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) March 5, 2023
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?