Hyatt Hotels Corporation called hate symbols “abhorrent” after the stage at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference, which took place at a Hyatt hotel, closely resembled a Nordic rune that appeared on Nazi uniforms.
CPAC was held Thursday to Sunday at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida.
Social media users were quick to notice that the event’s stage — which hosted speakers including former President Donald Trump — was in the shape of an “Odal rune,” with tweets like this one going viral:
Has anyone else noticed the shape of the CPAC stage is the Odal Rune/SS insignia? pic.twitter.com/TCns4B1tq8
— The Daily Beans Podcast (@dailybeanspod) February 26, 2021
As Business Insider’s Kelsey Vlamis reported, the symbol was used on some Nazi uniforms and has since been used by some white supremacists, but it is a centuries-old symbol that has also been used in nonextremist contexts.
“The othala rune (also known as the Othal Rune, Othila Rune, Odal Rune or Norse Rune) is part of the runic alphabet system, a system of writing used (with many variations) across pre-Roman Europe,” according to the ADL’s hate and neo-Nazi symbol database. “In the 20th century, Nazis in Germany adopted the othal rune, among many other similar symbols, as part of their attempt to reconstruct a mythic ‘Aryan’ past. Nazi uses of the symbol included the divisional insignia of two Waffen SS divisions during World War II. Following World War II, white supremacists in Europe, North America, and elsewhere began using the othala rune. Today, it is commonly seen in tattoo form, on flags or banners, as part of group logos, and elsewhere.”
“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,” Hyatt Hotels Corporation said in a Sunday statement, according to Reuters.
Hyatt added that the stage design and all other logistics were managed by the American Conservative Union — the group that organizes the conference — and not the hotel group, Reuters reported.
Matt Schlapp, the head of the American Conservative Union, tweeted on Saturday in response to the criticism of the stage, describing “conspiracies” about the design as “outrageous and slanderous.”
“We have a long standing commitment to the Jewish community,” he said. “Cancel culture extremists must address antisemitism within their own ranks. CPAC proudly stands with our Jewish allies, including those speaking from this stage.”
In response, the American Conservative Union (ACU) — the organization that puts on CPAC — lashed out at the company’s criticism.
“Contrary to Hyatt’s own mission statement of inclusivity, your company just attacked its own customer by caving into 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. Hyatt made a decision to issue additional statements late last night after the conference ended that disparaged and defamed us. These statements appear to validate demonstrably false and malicious claims,” ACU argued.
The organization argued that criticisms of their state design are “irresponsible, untrue, and contribute to a climate of division and hatred.”