Hyatt speaks out on alleged Nazi symbol on stage at CPAC conservative conference last weekend

When your party and its leader are plagued by accusations that they support white supremacists, it's probably best to avoid staging large events with symbols reminiscent of those used by the Third Reich.

The Republican Party failed to do that at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last weekend. Instead, the main stage at the event was in the shape of the othala rune, a symbol used interchangeably with the swastika in Nazi Germany.

The conference was held at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida.



"In the 20th century, Nazis in Germany adopted the othala rune, among many other similar symbols, as part of their attempt to reconstruct a mythic 'Aryan' past," the Anti-Defamation League says on its website.

"Following World War II, white supremacists in Europe, North America, and elsewhere began using the othala rune," the site continues.

The symbol was present during the infamous 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where white supremacists clashed with counter-protesters, resulting in one death.

The symbol was used on the stage and it also appeared on the ceiling of the conference room as a lighting display.

With just about any other event it'd be fair to chalk up the stage's resemblance to a Nazi symbol as mere coincidence. However, the specter of the January 6 capital uprising — perpetrated by a slew of white supremacists — hung over the event like a gray cloud.

Senator Josh Hawley, who spoke at the event, wore his involvement in the insurrection as a badge of honor. "I was called a traitor, I was called a seditionist, the radical left said I should [resign], and if I wouldn't resign, I should be expelled from the United States Senate," Hawley, said. "I'm not going anywhere."

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and organizer of the conference, rejected the comparison.

"Stage design conspiracies are outrageous and slanderous," he tweeted on Saturday. "We have a long-standing commitment to the Jewish community. Cancel culture extremists must address antisemitism within their own ranks. CPAC proudly stands with our Jewish allies, including those speaking from this stage."

The Hyatt Regency in Orlando has "deep concerns" about the shape of the stage.

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. The CPAC 2021 event is hosted and managed by the American Conservative Union that 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. We will continue to stay in dialogue with event organizers regarding our deep concerns. Any further questions can be directed to CPAC.

"With CPAC's denial of any intentional connection to hate symbols and our concerns over the safety of guests and colleagues in what could have been a disruptive situation, we allowed the event to continue," a Hyatt spokesperson told Reuters.

So, what could Hyatt and other places like it to avoid situations like this in the future? We think addressing the controversy and making their views on hate is a great start. Next, when choosing to book political conventions or events from anywhere on the ideological spectrum, it might make sense to have a consultant on hand. Someone who can be trusted to evaluate, analyze and raise flags of concern. People of differing views deserve the same freedoms and opportunities to gather and discuss their views. It's a quintessential American idea. But hate has no place in America. And until that ideal is shared by everyone, it's something we all have to work extra hard to address.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less