Former President Trump speaks at CPAC
Former President Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida.
EXCLUSIVE: Representatives from the American Conservative Union had scathing words for Hyatt Hotels’ leadership on Monday, after the company that hosted the 2021 CPAC event issued statements that the ACU claimed “disparaged and defamed” it.
Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, told Fox News that the political group intends to stand up for itself as he says Hyatt Hotels “buckled to the lies of the cancel culturists on the Left” amid a controversy over the design of the stage.
Schlapp said that because CPAC is such an “effective” platform he expected critics from the other side of the aisle to target the event “in an attempt to cancel us,” but the American Conservative Union did not expect to be fending off what it perceives as attacks from the company that it worked with to host the event.
“Contrary to Hyatt’s own mission statement of inclusivity, your company just attacked its own customer by caving in to the pressures of the politically motivated social media agitators who seek to destroy CPAC, our attendees and speakers from across the country, and the millions of Americans who support our work,” David Safavian, General Counsel for the American Conservative Union, said in a statement.
The disagreement comes after critics say the CPAC stage design looked like a hate symbol known as a Norse Rune, which was featured on Nazi uniforms.
In response to an outcry on social media, Hyatt said in one statement that the American Conservative Union, which hosts and manages the event, “manages all aspects of event logistics, including the stage design and aesthetics.”
“We discussed directly with ACU leadership who told us that any resemblance to a symbol of hate is unintentional,” the statement continued.
In another statement, the group said had it recognized the “potential” hate symbolism it would have proactively addressed it. However, it said it “allowed the event to continue” after CPAC organizers assured them that any resemblance was entirely unintentional.
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Schlapp, who refers to the accusations as “absurd,” said the event’s organizers had been working with Hyatt on a coordinated public response but claims the company waited until CPAC was over to break their understanding and to “disparage us” as a way to try to “curry favor with the cancel culturists of the left.”
“We are going to stand up for our honor and our character and it’s just absurd to accuse this conference and our organization of being anti-Semitic when we had the [U.S. ambassador] to Israel speak from that stage,” Schlapp said, adding that there were also standing-room-only Jewish religious services that the hotel helped facilitate.
Safavian’s letter said that the conservative group collaborated with Hyatt Hotels and subcontractors throughout the planning process – including on the stage design, noting that no one from the company raised any concerns during that time.
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Hyatt also claimed that attendees of the conference showed “hostility” to employees at the hotel over its attempts to enforce the mask policy.
Schlapp told Fox News that in terms of public health protocols, the event followed the lead of the Florida Attorney General and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. DeSantis spoke at the event.
Schlapp also said the Hyatt Regency Orlando recruited the event and was aware of the group’s mission statement and what it stood for from the outset. He said he was thanked by many employees who were happy to work given how the pandemic has affected the U.S. economy – and specifically the hospitality industry.
When asked by Fox News whether the American Conservative Union planned to cut ties with Hyatt Hotels for future events, Schlapp said the group is “reviewing all of its options.” He also urged conservative Americans not to spend their consumer dollars at corporations that will “attack” them on the “whim of any false charge.”
A Hyatt spokesperson did not immediately return Fox News’ request for further comments.
As previously reported by FOX Business, on Friday night Hyatt Hotels defended its decision to host the conservative event, which some people alleged the company was endorsing by allowing it to happen at one of its properties.
The hashtag #boycottHyatt began spreading on social media, but a spokesperson for Hyatt Hotels said at the time that the company takes “pride in operating a highly inclusive environment.”
It reiterated those values in a statement on Sunday.
The three-day event was held at the Hyatt Regency Orlando in Florida, featuring a slew of prominent Republican speakers from lawmakers and former administration officials to President Donald Trump.
The conference is the largest annual gathering of conservative activists and leaders. Fox Nation is a sponsor of CPAC 2021.
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