Marriott International will meet in Washington May 14 with anti-porn nutters that have petitioned the hotel chain to remove adult movies from its rooms.
Coming in response to an April 3 letter signed by 47 "pro-family" groups, the meeting may or may not serve to further the groups' agenda, as making such a broad change to the corporation's policy would be a very complex proposition,
Marriott officials say.
Marriott is a publicly traded company, so Mr. Marriott would not make a unilateral decision, said VP of communications Roger Conner, referring to CEO J.W. Marriott Jr., to whom the letter was addressed.
This is the first time a major hotel chain has agreed to meet with anti-adult lobbying groups, but even so, Conner stressed that it's the individual properties and not Marriott International that decide whether or not to offer adult programming,
and that receive compensation for it from Lodgenet and other providers.
Adult industry attorney Paul Cambria, however, pointed out to Cybercast that, Adult entertainment is completely protected by the First Amendment, and the Supreme Court has said so time and time again.
Marriott International is coming under heavy fire from nutter activists urging the hotel giant to banish sexual fare from its bedroom TV.
Focus on the Family met with hotel executives in Washington DC, and provided Marriott with a petition signed by 102,000 nutters who want pornographic films purged from the list of movie offerings.
Daniel Weiss, media and sexuality analyst for the group, said Marriott has billed itself as a family-lodging establishment, and its decision to provide adult films to its customers is contrary to its reputation.
Weiss said hotels and motels have been major contributors to the proliferation of pornography in mainstream culture: We've heard from people who have developed addictions, businessmen, people who travel a lot, who found that away from their
support structure and families they were very vulnerable to this type of material. They indicated that hotel porn was very significant in their addiction.
When WND asked Marriott Vice President of Communications Roger Conner why the hotel offers sex films in its rooms, he provided the following response: That's one of those any-kind-of-'why' questions. It's very universal in nature. For 25 years
or more, not just Marriott, but the whole industry has offered a wide range including adult movies.
Asked if he believes customers would miss the pornographic films if they were not offered, Conner said, It would be interesting to know. I don't want this to sound flippant, but who knows?
Marriott International offers families an option to block pornographic movies by calling the front desk or using the remote control, but Focus on the Family and other nutter groups would like the hotel chain to consider a policy where the
pornography would automatically be turned off unless a guest requests it.
For some people, that may just be enough of a hindrance that they won't access that material, Weiss said. They won't get caught up in it if they have to come out of the anonymity of ordering it in their room and call somebody.
Marriott executives said they will think about the suggestions and respond to concerns by July 1, though Conner acknowledged that not everyone left the meeting satisfied: We know it's not a perfect world that we live in, unfortunately, so it's
not a perfect response for those that we met with yesterday. There were some who said they wanted more of an immediate response or decision. But, based upon the complicated business model and contracts that are in place, we can't simply walk away
from it as we speak.
Hotels do not lose a large percentage of revenue when they boycott adult content because they only take 10 to 15% of the profits from the sale of pornographic films, Weiss said. He has faith that Marriott International will live up to its
reputation as a family friendly establishment and make its 3,000 hotels porn free: I think at this point we want to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they will do the right thing. We're going to take a cautious wait-and-see
A movement to make porn films condom-only is sure to gain further traction as two groups plan to protest the Marriott hotel chain.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Pink Cross Foundation claim Marriott acts as a middleman in selling condom-less porn productions because it makes millions from the pay-per-view lineup it offers in its hotel rooms.
The groups are planning a Porn In at the downtown Los Angeles Marriott. They also will announce a viral and print ad campaign for a hotel boycott.
They will protest in front of the Figueroa Street Marriott with banners and three-foot wide condoms. Later, a press conference will be held in a hotel room with streaming porn on the room's flat screen.
Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said that until he gets a commitment from Marriott officials to block condomless adult films to their hotel guests he will urge a public boycott of the entire Marriott chain, which
pencils out to about 3,000.
We want to highlight the brazen hypocrisy — the Mormon Marriott's moral masquerade — of such a so-called family oriented hotel chain profiteering off adult films that endanger the lives of the performers acting in them, Weinstein said.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has taken a stand after an adult performer tested positive for HIV several months ago.
A county in Minnesota is taking a stance about pornography. In most situations, Winona County will no longer reimburse workers for staying at hotels that offer pay-per view pornography.
Winona County is now the first in the USA to pass a clean hotel policy. The decision makes employees stay in porn-free hotels if they want reimbursement.
Chuck Derry with the Gender Violence Institute claims: Contemporary pornography 90% of it is degrading and violent towards women and girls. For the board members, it was an ethical decision. Derry says, The public is not going to pay
for employees that stay in establishments that support this kind of material.
Policy initiators hope this action will cause a ripple effect throughout the US.
Free Wi-Fi and widespread availability of Web-based adult-entertainment viewing may be contributing to pressure on LodgeNet, which provides various electronic guest-services to 1.9 million hotel rooms.
LodgeNet gets more than half of its revenue from providing hotels with guest services, including movies and entertainment viewing, Interactive TV, high-speed Internet access, and other connectivity solutions.
The decline in per room revenue continued to be driven by conservative consumer buying patterns as well as less popular theatrical content during the quarter as compared to the year-earlier period, LodgeNet stated.
Adult-entertainment viewing undoubtedly is a big-ticket item for LodgeNet and other vendors in their in-room, on-demand offerings, and the widespread availability of porn on guests' laptops these days may be contributing to the less popular
theatrical content which LodgeNet referred to.
Overall, LodgeNet has been hurt by the slump in business travel and materially lower purchases by consumers.
AVN commentators suggested that maybe there is some shrewd business thinking going on.
Bill Marriott told an interviewer from the Associated Press:
I've always been concerned about [pornographic] movies in rooms. In the next three or four years, we won't have any more of those. That's something we've had a real problem with because the Church is very, very opposed to pornography, as it
should be, and we are for families. But the owners of our hotels were making a lot of money. In fact, the only movies that make any money are pornography.
The Church, of course, is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons. And according to one hotel insider, porn accounts for 80 to 90 percent of all in-room movie purchases?
Now Marriott can keep the religious nutters happy by turning off their in-house porn systems. But the replacement entertainment will provide internet access and a high definition TV for a suitable fee...
LodgeNet, a major distributor of adult entertainment through its hotel cable TV network, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection..
US nutter campaigners will be well pleased, they have been campaigning against hotel room porn for quite a while. Unfortunately for them it probably just means that people are downloading or bringing their own porn.
LodgeNet said that fewer hotels used its services --- 1.5 million currently, down from two million in 2009 --- and guests ordered fewer pay-per-view movies. For years LodgeNet has been under threats posed by laptops, streaming Internet TV and
portable devices. But prior to the boom of portable electronics, the hotel room was a virtual monopoly for cable TV suppliers. One of its most lucrative areas is porn. Analysts back in 2011 speculated that about half of the company's revenue came
from adult entertainment.
The Nordic Choice hotel chain is in the process of converting to Bring Your Own Porn (BYOP). It is in the process of replacing in room porn channels with contemporary art.
The chain's owner, Petter Stordalen has made ludicrous and defamatory claims that the porn industry contributes to trafficking. He said:
The porn industry contributes to trafficking, so I see it as a natural part of having a social responsibility to send out a clear signal that Nordic Hotels doesn't support or condone this.
Starting with his flagship hotel in Norway's capital, Stordalen has now replaced porn with interactive TVs in each room offering "art on demand" with a choice of nine works of contemporary video art, including Sam Taylor-Wood's Still
Life from 2001" -- a film showing a bowl of fruit slowly decomposing.
Stordalen plans to roll out video art to other hotels, with Copenhagen next on the list.