Jim Morrill, Charlotte Observer, January 31, 2011
A white nationalist leader said today he hasn’t given up on holding a weekend conference in Charlotte despite what he called “contemptible” efforts to dissuade local hotels from hosting it.
Surrounded by more police than protesters, Jared Taylor blasted the Sheraton Charlotte Airport hotel as well as two city council members he said helped persuade the hotel to cancel the planned weekend gathering.
Taylor is editor of American Renaissance, a Virginia-based magazine of “racial-realist thought.” The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups, says the Renaissance conferences attract “racist ‘intellectuals’. . . Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.”
Taylor, speaking to reporters outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, rejected the characterization.
“There’s nothing the slightest but supremacist about it,” he said. “It is middle-aged men in suits giving speeches to other middle-aged men in suits. I can’t imagine anything more boring.”
Taylor alluded to the apparent involvement in the matter by Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon.
An e-mail Cannon sent to a constituent early this week suggested he was lobbying local hotels to refuse to book American Renaissance. Cannon wrote that he had contacted hotels and that “they seem to be cooperating.” Councilman Warren Turner was also reportedly involved, though Turner has denied contacting hotels.
“As you know, Mr. Cannon and Mr. Turner are both black,” Taylor said. He asked them both to apologize.”
Neither Cannon nor Turner could be reached.
Taylor compared his situation to that of another controversial figure, Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan. “Imagine if two white city council, members had gotten together to run him out of town,” he said. “Imagine the uproar.”
Taylor said he’s asked the 100 or so who had planned to attend the weekend conference to “keep (their) powder dry.”
“If we can’t find a place to meet we can’t find a place to meet,” he said. “But we’re hoping to have a conference.”