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Hyatt calls hate symbols 'abhorrent' after CPAC stage compared to sign used by Nazis

·2-min read

WASHINGTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Hyatt Hotels Corp called symbols of hate "abhorrent" on Sunday after the design of a stage at the 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 organized the conference.

The comparisons were "outrageous and slanderous," Matt Schlapp, American Conservative Union chair, said in a Twitter post on Saturday. He added the organization 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 U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 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.

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.

(Reporting by Julia Harte; Editing by Heather Timmons and Peter Cooney)