US Politics

Hyatt calls hate symbols 'abhorrent' after US CPAC stage design compared to Norse rune used by Nazis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Hyatt Regency on February 26 Source: Getty Images North America

Organisers of the conference have called the comparisons “outrageous and slanderous”.

Hyatt Hotels has called symbols of hate “abhorrent” after the design of a stage at the US Conservative Political Action Conference at one of its hotels drew comparisons to a Norse rune used by Nazis during World War Two.

High-profile Republicans including former President Donald Trump are attending the four-day event in Orlando, Florida, as conflict rages between Trump allies and establishment politicians trying to distance the party from him.

A photo of the CPAC stage went viral on social media on Saturday, with thousands of Twitter users sharing posts comparing its distinctive design to an othala rune, one of many ancient European symbols that Nazis adopted to “reconstruct a mythic ‘Aryan’ past,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The ceiling of the conference room featured a lighting display in the same shape as the stage, according to Reuters photographs.

Hyatt said all aspects of conference logistics, including the stage design, were managed by the American Conservative Union, which organised the conference.

The comparisons were “outrageous and slanderous,” Matt Schlapp, American Conservative Union chair, said in a Twitter post on Saturday.

He added the organisation had a “long standing commitment to the Jewish community” and that the conference featured several Jewish speakers.

In its statement on Sunday, Hyatt said: “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.”

Some Trump supporters who launched a deadly attack against the US Capitol on 6 January carried Confederate flags, which many Americans see as a symbol of oppression and slavery.

Extremism experts said some of the rioters were members of white nationalist groups.

Mr Trump’s presence has dominated this year’s CPAC, with his supporters parading a larger-than-life golden statue of the former president through the lobby of the hotel, according to a video posted on social media.

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