Skip to comments.Questions about Romney's ties to Marriott porn sales
Posted on 07/02/2007 4:17:47 PM PDT by AFA-Michigan
Some anti-pornography groups are demanding answers as to how much presidential candidate Mitt Romney knew about the Marriott hotel chain's profits of pornography sales during his nearly ten years on the Board of Directors in the 1990's.
The hotel chain is one of many that offer pay per view sex videos for sale through in-room entertainment.
Though Marriott doesn't release their revenues when it comes to X-rated videos, industry analysts estimate it is in the tens of millions of dollars.
During his run for President, Romney has campaigned on a platform of "family values" recently telling a graduation class, "Pornography and violence poison our music and movies and television and video games."
Some of these conservative grassroots activists want to know whether he spoke up or tried to put a stop to Marriott's business dealings back then.
Phil Burress, founder of Citizens for Community Values, has been fighting hotel chains for decades on this issue. He tells The Brody File that every month a group of roughly 15 anti-pornography leaders meet in Washington to discuss the latest happenings.
Mitt Romney's Marriott connection has come up repeatedly. "Ever since he announced for president, it's been a topic of discussion."
Mitt Romney's campaign told CBN the following: "Governor Romney's role as board member was in an advisory capacity on financial matters related to the company and, obviously, he did not have a role in the day-to-day operations or decisions of individual franchise holders."
John Harmer, president of the anti-pornography group The Lighted Candle Society and the former Lieutenant Governor of California under Ronald Reagan isn't buying it. He wants to hear more.
"My attitude toward board members is that they are fully responsible. They knew exactly what they were receiving. I don't think any board member under any rationale could claim ignorance. You're either a board member or not. I can't imagine a board member going a full year and not receiving a revenue report from the company."
Previous news accounts researched by The Brody File show that Romney was paid more than $100,000 per year while on the board of Marriott.
When he left in 2002, J.W. Marriott, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott International, called him, "an active, hands-on Director From his first days on our Board nine years ago, Mitt has been an extraordinarily effective director and visionary leader."
Mitt Romney has a very close relationship with the Marriott family.
Romney's father, George Romney was best friends with Marriott's original founder J. Willard Marriott. Mitt Romney's first name is Willard, in honor of the Marriott founder. The Marriott family gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mitt Romney's campaign when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1994.
So far during Romney's presidential run, they have given close to $80,000.
When asked about Romney's time on the board of directors, Marriott Spokesman Roger Conner told CBN, "We don't comment on board level matters."
Conner wouldn't speculate whether Romney had any knowledge about the fight to get rid of pornography in room entertainment or whether he did anything about it. He would only say, "This area would not have been a board area "
Conner is quick to point out that voting on in room entertainment packages would not have been something the board would have voted on. Rather, he says, this is an operations matter.
Moreover, he says that many of Marriott hotels are either owned by others or franchised.
"We have to respect the business decisions and needs of owners. The guest has a choice to opt out of the adult entertainment options."
The Brody File made repeated calls to LodgeNet, one of the main providers for hotel in-room entertainment. We asked whether hotels have the option to opt out of the X-rated films if they would like.
They did not return our phone calls. On their website, it does say that they work "closely with its hotel partners to determine the best mix of titles to maximize viewing levels. Unlike most systems, On Command Video has the ability to tailor the programming at individual hotels to match the demographic profile of that particular property's guests.
Conservative pro-family groups have been putting pressure on hotel chains for years to change their ways.
In a letter to Bill Johnson of the American Decency Association, Marriott's Chairman of the Board wrote in June of 2000, "The in-room entertainment operators who provide our systems rely upon a certain volume of movie types in order to be economically viable. If we were to eliminate the R and non rated offerings, the systems would not be economic."
Industry analysts estimate that roughly 60% of hotel chains provide in room entertainment with the X-rated pornography movie option. Yet, some have decided to drop the adult videos.
In 1999, Omni Hotels announced that it would remove adult pay-per-view movies from its guest room televisions. It took a financial hit but Peter Strebel, Omni Hotels vice president of marketing, said in a press release at the time, "
"Money is not the issue in this matter. Not all business decisions should be fiscally driven. We believe that this is the right thing to do; the right thing for Omni Hotels, our associates and our customers."
Gary Glenn, a well known pro-family activist in Michigan recently sent an email to Justin Hart, one of Mitt Romney's Faith and Values Steering Committee members. Hart also works for the The Lighted Candle Society.
Glenn writes, "It is a matter of record that during the time Romney served as a 'hands on' member of its board of directors, the Marriott Corporation sold tens of millions of dollars worth of hardcore pornographic videos as a candidate for president, Gov. Romney has a bully pulpit from which he could greatly assist your organization and others in applying sufficient public pressure to Marriott and other white-collar porn peddlers to 'dry up some of that funding' we encourage you to urge the Romney campaign to initiate public discussion of the above concerns and questions in a proactive fashion, for which he may receive some credit for initiative and leadership on an issue that speaks both to his personal and political integrity and to his trustworthiness should he be elected as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States."
The Brody File contacted Justin Hart who said "In this important fight against pornography there are those people who are determined to make enemies and effect zero change and there are those who propose to use their influence to create serious lasting change - Romney is in this latter camp pure societal turnaround can only happen when people of influence find the right moment in time to lead change In my opinion, Romney's record shows that he could very well effect that change to happen. The fact that he included a serious anti-pornography group on his Faith and Values committee suggests this as well."
That's not satisfying to Phil Buress. He wants answers from Romney. "This man is very knowledgeable about the issues, but for him to not know anything about what Marriott is selling, I found that very interesting."
The Romney campaign won't go beyond their initial statement.
Instead they point out that Governor Romney is actively talking about pornography issues and today's culture wars.
In a speech Romney gave nearly three months ago, he said, "I have great faith in the American people. I have faith in our children, and in our grandchildren. But at the same time, I am deeply troubled by the culture that surrounds them today.I'd like to keep pornography from coming up on kid's computers. I'd like to keep drugs off the streets. I'd like to see less violence and sex on TV and in movies and in video games
I believe that the most important work being done to strengthen America's future is the work that is being done within the 4 walls of the American home."
1. Do you believe the Marriott Corporation was and is wrong to sell and profit from the sale of hardcore pornographic material?
2. If so, what if any actions did you take during your decade as a member of the board of directors to stop the Marriott Corporation's distribution of hardcore pornographic videos? Did you at any time protest the company's sale of such harmful material? If you did not speak out or act to stop the corporation's sale of hardcore pornographic material, please explain how you justify having failed to do so.
3. The Brody File reports that you received $100,000 a year for your service as a member of the board. Please explain how you justify having personally profited in part from the Marriott Corporation's sale of hardcore pornographic material.
4. Do you own currently own stock in the Marriot Corporation? If so, please explain how you justify continuing to personally profit in part from the sale of hardcore pornographic material. If you currently continue to personally profit in part from the sale of hardcore pornographic material via any Marriott stock holdings, and if you believe such personal profit to be inconsistent with the "family values" theme of your presidential campaign, will you as a candidate for president publicly divest yourself of any Marriott stock holdings so as to no longer gain personal profit from the sale of hardcore pornography?
5. Do you feel morally obligated to return to the Marriot Corporation -- or better yet, donate to a charitable ministry such as The Lighted Candle Society that assists the victims of pornography and sex abuse -- whatever percentage of your compensation, if any, from your board service or stock holdings that is reasonably commensurate with the percentage of the company's overall revenues produced by its sale of hardcore pornographic material?
6. The Brody File cites an Associated Press report in April that as of three months ago, "longtime family friend J.W. Marriott...of Marriotts hotel empire (had) donated more than $80,000 to Romneys campaign." Given that some portion of the Marriotts' personal and corporate profits derive from the sale of hardcore pornographic material, do you feel morally obligated to return to Mr. Marriott whatever percentage of his substantial contributions to your presidential campaign might reasonably have resulted from porn profits?
7. Will you now, as a candidate for president, publicly urge the Marriott Corporation to end its multi-million-dollar annual sales of hardcore pornographic material because of the unconscionable impact such distribution has on families, women, and children?
8. Given your close personal, business, and political relationship with the Marriott Corporation and family, can the American people trust that a Romney Administration would nonetheless aggressively, faithfully, and impartially investigate and prosecute the illegal distribution of hardcore pornographic and obscene material -- including such illegal distribution, pro-family activists believe, by the Marriott Corporation and its franchise properties (as evidenced by two Cincinnati Marriott properties which in 2002 removed the chain-wide selection of porn videos under threat of criminal obscenity charges by local prosecutors)?
This is absurd. Evidently there is a huge demand for pay per view porn in hotel chains. Hotel chains make most of their money from repeat customers.
You want Marriot to go out of business? How does it help the anti-porn world if Marriot goes out of business and the other businesses, selling porn, take over Marriot’s hotels?
Why do you care so much anyway if some business traveler watches the porn?
I think those are fair questions. We supposedly live in a nation with a majority claiming belief in Christ. I know that many at the highest levels of corporations are religious but some where along the line there is a disconnect with the way they run their businesses.
Asked to comment on the Marriott Hotel chain and porn sales, conservative Christian heartthrob Fred “The Tennesee Stud” said, “Porn? I don’t buy porn. I lived it in my playboy break between my first and second marriages.”
9. Do you own any stock in Disney?
The fact that these people think the softcore Skinemax crap on hotel pay-per-view is “hardcore” indicates they are sheltered from a even the most carefuly worded sexual Google search.
Marriott also sells alcohol, coffee and tea! These are also proscribed by Mormons.
Why would he care how he made his money?
He didn’t. He must have known if he is as smart as he believes he is. Mitt is creepy as well as a flip flopper.
Funny how elections bring out the loonies to pimp their causes on the coattails of the candidates.
Rodney asks: “You want Marriot to go out of business? How does it help the anti-porn world if Marriot goes out of business and the other businesses, selling porn, take over Marriots hotels? Why do you care so much anyway if some business traveler watches the porn?”
1. No, we want Marriott to join Omni, Days Inn, and other hotel chains that refuse to profit from the sale of pornography and still somehow manage to stay in business.
2. If Marriott discovers — unlike Omni, Days Inn, etc. — that it can’t remain in business without selling porn, we’d prefer that Omni or Days Inn buy their properties.
3. Only a partial response:
* A University of Calgary Study reported: “The results are clear and consistent; exposure to pornographic material puts one at increased risk for developing sexually deviant tendencies, committing sexual offenses, experiencing difficulties in one’s intimate relationships, and accepting the rape myth.” http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2002/mar/02031203.html%20
* Law enforcement officials confirm these findings based on their prosecution of sex crimes against women and children. They report that pornography is a major motivating factor in the crime of rape and a startling 100 percent correlation between cases of child sexual abuse and the child molesters’ use of adult-oriented or child pornography.
* The United Nations Commission on Human Rights appropriately labels pornography “a form of violence against women that ‘glamorizes the degradation and maltreatment of women and asserts their subordinate function as mere receptacles for male lust’.” http://www.un.org:80/rights/dpi1772e.htm
Gov. Romney himself — in his recent Regent University commencement address — said pornographic and violent movies were responsible in part for the horrific violence that occurred at Virginia Tech. http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2007/05/romneys_speech_at_regent.php
The Davis County Clipper, Bountiful, Utah, in March interviewed former California Lt. Gov. John Harmer, chairman of The Lighted Candle Society and author of the recent book “The Sex Industrial Complex.” According to the Clipper: ’Pornography creates a chemical addiction in the same way cigarettes and alcohol do,’ said Harmer. In his book, Harmer cites sources from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the British National Addiction Centre to describe how dopamine, a key drug released by the brain during arousal, has the same effect as cocaine or speed and can create the same addictions in the brain. For children and teens, Harmer feels that the addiction could be even stronger and more damaging.” http://www.lightedcandlesociety.org/newsletters/LCS%20%20March%20Newsletter%20For%20Email%20Edition.htm
Not if certain FReepers have their way.
This has gone beyond ridiculous.
That’s odd. You feel the need to attack Fred in a completely unrelated hit-piece on Romney.
1. No, we want Marriott to join Omni, Days Inn, and other hotel chains that refuse to profit from the sale of pornography and still somehow manage to stay in business.
I didn't know that, thanks.. and it makes your argument less "absurd" to me.
I agree this is really ridiculous.
How many hotels have bars that sell alcohol or even have mini bars in the rooms? How many hotels have gift shops that sell cigarettes and/or playboy’s? How many hotels allow smoking in their rooms, at least until the last few years? How many hotels sell condoms in vending machines?
All these are objectionable to certain folks.
Bogey defends Marriott’s porn sales by saying: “It’s not being forced on anybody and the last time I checked this is still a free country that espouses personal responsibility.”
Wonder how that defense would work for a drug dealer?
And for the record, the Omni and Days Inn chains, among others, refuse as a matter of corporate policy to sell porn.
I have a mutual fund that owns Marriott stock....I am therefore guilty by this association also....How dumb can we get folks?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.