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After being jilted by yet another hotel, the white nationalist American Renaissance conference was cancelled again last week — this time, for good.
The conference, scheduled for Feb. 19-21, had been held biannually since 1994 and featured prominent academic racists, far-right politicians and other extremists from around the world. Over the past several months, however, anti-racists persuaded four Washington D.C.-area hotels to drop the conference, infuriating American Renaissance leader Jared Taylor.
After the third hotel rescinded its agreement to host the event, Taylor announced on Feb. 15 that the conference would not be held this year. The next day, Taylor reversed himself, saying he’d booked the conference at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, which had recently hosted two events sponsored by the anti-Semitic American Free Press. When the hotel’s general manager seemed unperturbed by American Renaissance’s ideology, Jeffrey Imm of Responsible for Equality and Liberty (R.E.A.L.), contacted the hotel’s parent organization, Rubell Hotels. Later that day — and just two days before the conference was supposed to begin — Capitol Skyline Hotel became the fourth hotel to cancel the conference. “We informed the hotel of all circumstances surround [sic] the previous cancellations, including death threats, and the hotel still agreed to hold the conference,” wrote Jared Taylor in a Feb. 17 E-mail to conference registrants. “We had every reason to believe it would hold firm. We feel just as betrayed as you do.”
For his part, Imm has said that he was not involved in any threats against the hotels. “[O]ur emphasis was to inform the management [of] the background of the planned conference, and to ask for an opportunity to provide a counter-message of diversity, hope and love,” he wrote on R.E.A.L.’s website.
According to Taylor, more than 250 people had paid $135 (excluding hotel and banquet costs) to attend the three-day conference. This year’s event featured 10 speakers, including British National Party chairman Nick Griffin and racist filmmaker Craig Bodeker.
Update: Taylor later claimed on his website that American Renaissance held a program last weekend after some supporters showed up despite the cancellation notice. He said three of the people who’d been scheduled to speak were present: former Klan attorney Sam Dickson, anti-immigrant author Louis March and Taylor. Other speakers (not on the original program) were British National Party candidate Matthew Tait, Canadian white supremacist Paul Fromm and lawyer Joe Sibley. Taylor did not disclose the location of the meeting or how many people attended.