ACT for America Pressures Hyatt to Drop SPLC-Inspired 'Hate Group' Ban on Conservatives
On Tuesday morning, ACT for America will launch a campaign to bring public pressure against Hyatt Hotels, asking millions of Americans to contact the hotel chain and urge them to drop their ban on working with "hate groups." A coalition of Leftist groups, motivated by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)'s "hate group" labels, pressured Hyatt to take this stance, and now conservatives are pushing back.
"It's going to be a pretty major push — between ACT for America and the Media Research Center I would expect millions to see this," Thomas Hern, grassroots director at ACT for America, told PJ Media on Monday.
Hyatt's rejection of SPLC-defined "hate groups" is "not just an attack on hate groups, it's an attack on conservatives," Hern explained. "This is an attack on freedom of speech and conservative ideologies as a whole, which is right out of the Fascist playbook."
The SPLC has marked a broad variety of conservative and Christian organizations "hate groups" because they disagree with the Left-wing smear group's positions on LGBT issues, Islam, and immigration, among other things.
SPLC-designated "hate groups" include Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — a premier legal organization that has won 9 Supreme Court cases in 7 years — the Family Research Council (FRC), D. James Kennedy Ministries, the Ruth Institute, Liberty Counsel, and ACT for America, among many others.
A terrorist actually shot up the FRC in 2012, using the SPLC "hate map." Recently, the SPLC had to pay $3.375 million to settle a defamation lawsuit from Maajid Nawaz, a reformist Muslim whom the SPLC had falsely branded an "anti-Muslim extremist." This settlement inspired about 60 different organizations to consider defamation lawsuits against the SPLC.
"There are ongoing discussions between several organizations that work together in a coalition to oppose the things the SPLC is doing," Hern told PJ Media, confirming yet again that these organizations are mulling serious lawsuits. "We haven't gone as far as to file any class action lawsuits, but that is definitely something that these organizations, including us, have been mulling over."
While any lawsuit would come in the future, the public campaign against Hyatt will launch Tuesday. This campaign involves "starting a petition and a phone call campaign to their customer service," Hern explained.
The Act for America website urges visitors to launch into action. "Tell Hyatt to Reverse Their Decision to Ban Conservatives," the page urges, denouncing the "well-coordinated, leftist, Soros funded smear campaign" against Hyatt "for hosting ACT for America’s national conference at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel."
While Hyatt originally stood up to pressure, it caved after the conference. "By taking this stance, the Hyatt Hotels Corporation has become complicit with the radical left’s attack on freedom of expression," ACT for America charges. "By accepting the SPLC’s definition of a 'hate group,' Hyatt is telling millions of Americans they are no longer welcome in their hotels."
In a statement condemning Hyatt's new policy, Hern denounced it as "a decision to ban all freedom loving, flag waving conservative Americans from their hotel chains. While we have come to expect this from left-wing radicals, we certainly did not expect a prominent American hotel chain to weaponized their brand and influence against the conservative voice."
Sadly, Hyatt is not the first large company to team up with the SPLC. Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a partnership with the Left-wing smear group. Also last year, D. James Kennedy Ministries filed a lawsuit against Amazon for excluding them from Amazon's charity partnership, Amazon Smile. Since then, ADF has also been removed from Amazon Smile. The donation processing company Vanco Payments cut ties with the small Catholic nonprofit the Ruth Institute over the SPLC label. MasterCard, Patreon, and GoFundMe targeted JihadWatch founder Robert Spencer, even stealing money from him.
Prager University and Turning Point USA — which have both been attacked by the SPLC — condemned Hyatt's decision in remarks to PJ Media. (PragerU has rightly denounced the SPLC as a "hate group.")
"While we haven’t hosted an event there, nor have any of our employees run into any issues staying at their hotels, it is always a dubious sign when large corporates rely on the SPLC to determining what is and is not hate," Craig Strazzeri, CMO of PragerU, told PJ Media. "Half of the country would be guilty of ‘hate' according to the SPLC, which means if companies like Hyatt continue to go down this road, they risk losing a lot of customers."
"Turning Point USA has hosted multiple large conferences at Hyatts and before this news, was planning to continue doing so," Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA, told PJ Media. While his organization is contractually obligated to host a few more events there, he announced that they will cut ties once possible.
"Our business alone represents hundreds of thousands of dollars every year and if they don’t cut ties with the SPLC, we won’t be going back once our current contracted obligations allow," Kirk declared. "Radical left groups like SPLC, Think Progress and CAIR are the real modern-day haters and bullies, and no company should bow to their radical demands to discriminate against mainstream conservatives. Hyatt has an opportunity to correct course, and if not, I hope people vote with their wallets when choosing which hotel gets their money."
ACT for America's Thomas Hern argued that the SPLC attempts to use its position to exclude certain people from public debate, in a manner resonant of fascist dictatorships. "If you're able to frame every debate with ACT for America under the pretense that we're a hate group, it makes it a lot more difficult for us to work with elected officials," he explained.
The SPLC has branded ACT for America an "anti-Muslim hate group," even though Hern's organization works with reformist Muslims to combat radical Islamic terrorism.
"We've worked with M. Zuhdi Jasser [founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy], we've had current Muslims speaking at our conferences, including [Canadian journalist] Raheel Raza," he told PJ Media. "This idea that we're anti-Muslim is patently false. We are willing to work with pretty much anyone who disavows radical Islamic terrorism."
He further noted that Brigitte Gabriel, ACT for America's president, works frequently with reformist Muslim Imam Mohammed Tawhidi, a reformist Muslim in Australia who once was a senior cleric in Iran.
This kind of smear makes a perverse kind of sense, however, considering the SPLC's one-sided activism. Hern referenced the Left-wing group's anti-bullying campaigns. "They'll have sections on Islamophobia, LGBTQIA, but they won't have sections on anti-Semitism or Christians being persecuted all over the world," he noted.
Hern even connected the SPLC — and Hyatt — to the Left's increasing radicalism and mob actions, citing Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who have called for activists to confront Republicans in restaurants, stores, and even at their homes.
"To see Hyatt work with these same people and cave to these demands, they're complicit with the Left's new tactics," Hern declared.
Come Tuesday, millions of Americans will see the outrage of what Hyatt did to ACT for America and so many other conservative groups. Hern's powerful denunciations of Hyatt and the SPLC are just the beginning.
The general customer service line for Hyatt Hotels is 1 (800) 323-7249. You can also contact Hyatt using ACT for America's website.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.