Lydia Brimelow, VDare, January 24, 2017
Over the past several years, there has been increasing demand for a VDARE.com conference. Last fall, I decided to take the plunge and plan our first-ever.
VDARE.com is a very small office and I found the prospect of this major event quite intimidating. But with the support of some key donors and the advice of many friends, I went ahead. My first step was to identify a freelance Project Manager who could bear the brunt of much of the more specialized tasks. Through observation and through the explicit advice of my friends, I knew the most elemental step in any event space we in our movement secure, is that is be GOVERNMENT-OWNED. I communicated this to my Project Manager from Day One. Imagine my delight when he presented a venue at Yosemite National Park.
Well, as it turns out, there is a government owned facility at Yosemite National Park, but Tenaya Lodge, with whom we contracted, was not it. I trusted my Project Manager when he assured me that it was, because he misunderstood Tenaya’s assurances that it was governed by federal law, and that trust seemed validated when Tenaya presented a contract that did not allow for the possibility for them to cancel. For any reason.
- Mistake Number One:Unknowingly contracting with a private venue.
- Mistake Number Two:Not contracting for punitive sanctions if Tenaya cancelled.
To be fair, it was Mistake Number One that lulled me in to a sense of security regarding Mistake Number Two. But both are hard lessons learned.
We were transparent with Tenaya from the beginning. VDARE.com, we informed them, was a politically-oriented site that leaned controversial. There would be protestors. We would have security concerns. They should look us up. We repeatedly mentioned that we selected them because of their position on government property and their responsibility thereby to honor freedom of speech and assembly. Tenaya did not disabuse us of this false understanding.
We started promoting the conference on social media last week and put it on our homepage yesterday morning (January 24). Within an hour, the $PLC and MediaMatters published hit pieces targeting our conference and the venue itself. An hour later, I got a panicked call from Lauren Grimes, the Sales Manager at Tenaya Lodge. There were complaint calls coming in! Within 8 hours, I received an email and a phone call from Kathrin Poetter, Director of Sales & Marketing at the Tenaya Lodge, informing me in no uncertain terms that our contract was canceled.
Tenaya Lodge today became aware of the nature of VDare Foundation, an organization that several weeks ago booked meeting space and rooms from March 31 to April 2.
Unfortunately, at the time of booking we did not realize this group has values that are in conflict with our embracement of diversity among our employees and guests, including people of different cultures, lifestyles, creeds, nationalities, races and ages. [VDARE.com Note: Tenaya Lodge embraces diversity among its employees by exploiting cheap labor, in form of H2-B foreign workers, and complains when they can’t get visas for them — see Short staffs are a bear for parks, by Christopher Reynolds, LA Times, May 27, 2007] We are also concerned that providing meeting space and rooms to this group could be disruptive to our other guests’ enjoyment of Tenaya Lodge and the services we provide to those guests.
In response, we’ve taken steps to immediately cancel this booking. We regret the mistake and want to assure our employees and guests that in no way does Tenaya Lodge endorse this group.
Yosemite Venue Cancels White Nationalist VDare Event Booking After It Learns Of Group’s Views, by Eric Hananoki, Media Matters, January 24, 2017
This is interesting for a number of reasons.
- The first is, they’re lying. Tenaya knew full well and with complete transparency who VDARE.com is and what we’re about. We have kept all the emails and correspondence during this process.
I’m talking to YOU, Media Matters: These people were perfectly happy to take our money as long as you didn’t find out. There is no moral high ground here, assuming you think it is moral to discriminate against a charitable organization based on its “values.”
- The second is, Tenaya has broken a contract. Of course, Delaware North probably just thinks it can out-lawyer a tiny foundation like us.
- The third is, that instead of citing security concerns or some other practical consideration outside their control, Paul Ratchford and Kathrin Poetter have made it clear, in writing and over the phone with me, that their objection is to our values.
In a world where a Christian baker is required by law to bake a cake for a gay wedding, a secular conference hotel feels free to discriminate against its customers — even after a contractual obligation has been agreed to freely and with transparency — because they do not fit its “embracement of diversity.”
“Diversity” — but not diversity of opinions.
In that sense, it’s very embarrassing that I did not super-confirm the ownership of the venue. I was completely aware of the risks. But all this is new to me. I’ve never planned a public event before. My Project Manager is a civilian innocent who is astounded that this can happen in America. I guess there’s a learning curve.
And the fact is, this situation shouldn’t exist. Do we live in a free country or not?