The hospitality business felt the pandemic hit hard, and Hyatt can’t seem to catch a good look these days when it comes to Republicans hosting high-profile events at its hotels. First, Rudy Giuliani prompted a flurry of jokes after holding an Elite Strike Force “hearing” at an Arizona Hyatt, and then this past weekend, the CPAC weekend event (held at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando) is backfiring against the chain. Yep this is the same event where Donald Trump staked his claim upon the GOP for a 2024 run (after a golden statue was rolled out in his honor), and Ted Cruz did the “freedom!” yell from Braveheart. Yet people noticed something about the main event stage, and it’s not good for hotel PR by any stretch of the imagination. Hyatt is now using the word “abhorrent” to describe the symbol after a backlash, and we’ll detail that backtracking below.
First, it’s worth noting that Hyatt has pointed out (via MarketWatch) that they faced resistance against COVID protocols by CPAC attendees: “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.” And that wasn’t all, because the CPAC stage shape has created an enormous fuss.
As the Ben Jackson of The Boston Globe and The Hill pointed out on Twitter, “It is a rune which was used by the SS.” Jackson certainly wasn’t alone in noting the resemblance.
This is the CPAC stage design below. It is a rune which was used by the SS.
This is the stage from which @tedcruz screeched “freedom.”
— Ben Jackson (@BJacksonWrites) February 27, 2021
— Morgan J. Freeman (@mjfree) February 27, 2021
I'm sure it's just a coincidence that cpac shaped their stage like a nazi rune.
— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) February 27, 2021
Peak 2021 Twitter/CPAC Stage:
“It only looks like half a swastika, cut them some slack”
And then the other half of Twitter:
“It’s a Nordic Rune that was adopted by the Nazi’s for SS uniforms”
How did we get here, America?
— NoelCaslerComedy (@CaslerNoel) February 26, 2021
More specifically, the symbol resembles an othala rune, and it’s the same shape that was spotted on flags at the 2017 Nazi gathering in Charlottesville. Certainly, it’s not a symbol that Hyatt would want to align themselves with, but at first, the hotel chain didn’t do so hot while initially responding to the social media backlash. As Forbes noted (via journalist Nancy Levine of Raw Story), a Hyatt representative stated (over the weekend), “We believe in the right of individuals and organizations to peacefully express their views, independent of the degree to which the perspectives of those hosting meetings and events at our hotels align with ours.”
That’s an odd statement, given that it doesn’t even try to deny the resemblance of the stage to a Nazi rune and responds with a metaphorical shoulder shrug. However, the hotel’s tune has changed. On Sunday evening, The Guardian revealed a new statement from Hyatt: “We take the concern raised about the prospect of symbols of hate being included in the stage design at CPAC 2021 very seriously as all such symbols are abhorrent and unequivocally counter to our values as a company.”
What happened to change Hyatt’s response? Tweets like this one from Isa-Lee Wolf: “A platform for hate is not inclusive, Hyatt… A platform to spread the Big Lie that spawned a violent insurrection and is now fomenting another threatened one is not inclusive… Neutrality with nazis is endorsement of nazis.”
A platform for hate is not inclusive, Hyatt.
A platform to spread the Big Lie that spawned a violent insurrection and is now fomenting another threatened one is not inclusive.
Neutrality with nazis is endorsement of nazis.
— Isa-Lee Wolf (@IsaLeeWolf) February 26, 2021
This one, too, from Heather Hale: “Oh for crying out loud, they probably would have given the honeymoon suite to Hitler too.”
Oh for crying out loud, they probably would have given the honeymoon suite to Hitler too.
— Heather Hale 🌊🌊 (@HeatherHale88) February 26, 2021
That’s gotta sting, and Hyatt executives cannot be enjoying this Monday.