The controversy surrounding an alleged Nazi symbol hidden in the 2021 CPAC stage design just took a turn. After a tense back and forth between CPAC organizers and Hyatt Hotels as the two blamed each other for fueling headlines accusing the conservative event of purposefully basing its main stage on the othala rune worn on the lapel of Nazi SS officers, a culprit has emerged: the stage design company has taken responsibility for what now appears to be a genuine mistake.
After CPAC officials reportedly threatened to “out” the company if it didn’t quickly take the blame for the Nazi symbol fiasco, the Maryland-based Design Foundry issued a statement on Tuesday evening explaining what happened and apologizing for the blunder. According to the company, CPAC organizers were shown several mock-ups including the alleged rune shape, which was designed to optimize space, and Design Foundry claims it had no idea that the shape evoked Nazi symbolism and would not have presented it as an option if it did. Via Mediaite:
The approved stage design was intended to provide the best use of space, given the constraints of the ballroom and social distancing requirements. The iterative design process included input from CPAC, the hosting event space, other vendors, and county officials. We had no idea that the design resembled any symbol, nor was there any intention to create something that did. We are saddened and horrified at the accusations that this was a deliberate act. Design Foundry denounces all hate speech and acts of racism, prejudice, or bigotry in all forms.
While that sounds like PR spin, there’s another interesting wrinkle to this story. Journalist Yashar Ali tweeted on Tuesday night that the owner of Design Foundry is “very liberal” and was excited for Biden’s victory. In fact, she recently did work for the Biden Cancer Summit in 2018. As for why her company would work for CPAC, Ali writes, “You try having an events business during a pandemic.”