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Hyatt hotels announces ban on hate groups following anti-Muslim conference

Hyatt will no longer rent space to hate groups, according to a new policy unveiled by the international hotel chain. In a statement Thursday, Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian outlined the new policy, saying: “If a group is primarily focused on disparaging a group by virtue of their identity … that’s really where we need to draw the line. We’re going to apply our values to making these decisions along the way.”

The decision came after pressure Hyatt received from civil rights advocacy groups and consumers for hosting a conference sponsored by the anti-Muslim hate group ACT for America on Sept. 4-5. Despite pushback, Hyatt doubled down on hosting the conference. However, the company now appears to have set a new course.

Hyatt’s newly adopted stance against hate groups bears similarities to Airbnb’s anti-discrimination policy, which prohibited white nationalists from using its platform last August prior to the deadly “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. That same month, a Colorado resort canceled a conference organized by the white nationalist hate site VDARE.

ACT for America hosts its conference annually in the nation’s capital and bounces around hotel chains in the Washington, D.C., area. Marriott faced similar pressure last year when it hosted ACT’s conference. In the end, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson defended the decision to host the gathering, saying, “The theme is that we are in the hospitality business. We are serving people from all around the world, from all walks of life, with all points of views.”

ACT’s conference, now in its 10th year, featured former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan as well as a smattering of anti-Muslim speakers.

ACT’s expansive chapter network through the country makes it the largest anti-Muslim hate group in the country. The group’s founder and president Brigitte Gabriel has warned that Muslims are “a natural threat to civilized people of the world, particularly Western civilization.” Gabriel and her group recently claimed a “massive wave of third-world immigration has been engulfing America for half a century.”

Despite this extreme rhetoric, Gabriel bragged during her group’s gathering in early September that ACT has a “standing meeting at the White House once a week.” Gabriel has also established a rapport with members of Congress. Eight U.S. members of Congress spoke at the group’s conference this year, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Steve King (R-Iowa) and Scott Perry (R-Penn.).

Scott Simpson, public advocacy director for Muslim Advocates, one of the advocacy groups that put the heat on Hyatt, said in a statement that the hotel’s “announcement is a welcome one for consumers who want their hotels to be safe spaces to relax and be themselves free from hostility and discrimination.” Simpson noted, “Hyatt didn’t make this decision in a vacuum” and said it came “after civil rights groups and more than 100,000 consumers spoke up” and demanded “there should be no room for hate at Hyatt.”

Photo by Kaesler Media

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