Muslim Advocates Responds to Marriott’s Defense of Hosting Nation’s Largest Anti-Muslim Hate Convention

Group Urges Marriott to Follow Lead of Airbnb, Sofitel, the Willard Hotel, Paypal, Google, GoDaddy and Others Declining to be a Platform for Hate Groups

Washington, DC – Yesterday, Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson defended his hotel chain’s decision to host the nation’s largest anti-Muslim hate convention next week. Pressure has grown on Marriott to cancel the agreement after Muslim Advocates publicly released a letter previously sent to Sorenson.

In defense of his ill-advised decision to host the hate group, Sorenson said “I shudder to think that we really expect that my role or Marriott’s role is to say your views are not acceptable in our hotels and that another person’s views are…I know someone will say, ‘That’s a cop out.’ There are points of view that are wrong. I believe that. [There are] many that I personally believe are wrong. But I don’t think it’s practical or constructive to say you’ll be the one to make that judgement.”

“We agree with one part of what Mr. Sorenson said: this is a ‘cop out,” said Scott Simpson, public advocacy director of Muslim Advocates. “Many leading companies have decided that they don’t want to be a platform for hate groups, including Marriott’s direct competitors Airbnb, the Willard Hotel, and Sofitel and major companies like Paypal, Spotify, Apple, GoDaddy, and Google. Just a few years ago, a Marriott in Dulles, Virginia joined a Westin and a Sheraton in declining to host another hate group conference. So what’s changed?  Why can’t Marriott stand up for its own stated values and say no to an organization dedicated to demonizing an entire religion? We caution Marriott’s Crystal City employees and guests that their hotel will not be hate free next week.”

As Muslim Advocates’ original letter states, “Marriott clearly and proudly states on its website that ‘diversity and inclusion is fundamental to our core values and strategic business goals.’ We believe that hosting this anti-Muslim convention is antithetical to this otherwise clear commitment..Act for America’s held almost 30 anti-Muslim protests during Ramadan—some of the protesters were armed and marched directly in front of mosques. The official Facebook page of this event was filled with repeated calls to kill and commit acts of violence against Muslims….Declining to host ACT for America would help to ensure that Marriott International does not fall behind other companies and would be true to your company’s stated commitment to inclusivity.”

Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.