Hotel Porn and Politics

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The long-festering issue of video pornography in hotel guestrooms (see Lodging Hospitality, Oct. 2006, pgs. 20-21) has now seeped into presidential politics. As reported earlier this week by the Christian Broadcasting Network, a number of conservative advocacy groups are questioning Republican candidate Mitt Romney about his failure (they say) to remove R- and X-rated video content from Marriott guestrooms during his nearly 10-year stint on the company's board of directors. Romney left the board in 2002.

Romney's campaign has tried to sidestep the issue by claiming, and rightly so, that the board of directors didn't regularly review operational issues such as in-room entertainment offerings. However, as a board member Romney could have at least raised the issue.

And, of course, Marriott has always argued that these decisions are the province of owners and franchisors, not Marriott corporate. However, I know for a fact that at least one (and probably all) of the Marriott properties owned by the Marriott family trust offers a full array of entertainment options, including adult.

Further complicating the Romney situation are Mitt's close personal ties to the Marriott family. Romney's father, George, was a close friend of company founder J. Willard Marriott, and Mitt's first name is Willard, in J.W.'s honor. So far during Romney's presidential campaign, the Marriott family has given $80,000 to the Romney effort, reports CBN.

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