Nearly 50 nutter organisations are asking the Marriott hotel chain to take pornographic movies out of guest rooms.
In an April 3 letter to CEO John Marriott III, 47 pro-family nutters requested a meeting to discuss the issue. The letter goes on to say that pulling the pay-per-view movies would be in line with Marriott's public statement of promoting the well-being
of children and families and stand against ... such tragedies as human trafficking and the exploitation of children.
Among the nutters who signed the letter are: Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Bishop Harry Jackson (High Impact Leadership Council), Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), Paul Weyrich (Free Congress Foundation), Dr. Richard Land (Southern
Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission), Matt Staver (Liberty Counsel), and Robert Peters (Morality in Media).
Don Wildmon, the founder and chairman of the American Family Association, was one of the signatories to the letter. He says it is time for Marriott to put families first: Children can go [into a Marriott room and] accidentally ... access the porn. So
we're asking Marriott simply to put people above profits and [to] drop the porn movies from their guest rooms."
Wildmon says so far, Marriott has not responded to a request to meet with representatives of the pro-family groups to discuss the matter.
According to a press release from AFA, Marriott has approximately 2,800 hotels in the U.S. -- and about 2,400 of them offer in-room pornographic movies.
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
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.
Pro-family nutters have wrapped up what is being called a "productive" meeting with officials of Marriott International.
The meeting focused on the hotel chain's practice of selling in room pornographic movies at some of its properties.
Last month, leaders of 47 pro-family groups sent a letter to Marriott CEO John W. Marriott the Third, which asked for a meeting with Marriott executives about the issue.
Don Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, says the meeting in Washington D.C. was a good first step: Two things came out of the meeting . They are going to look into a system where people would have to call the front desk and get
the movie turned on.
Secondly, notes Wildmon, the Marriot executives will discuss the issue further with some of their franchisees. And he says pro-family nutters will have another meeting with Marriott representatives in about six weeks to check progress on the issue.
Marriott International is coming under heavy fire from nutter activists urging the hotel giant to banish sexual fare from its bedroom
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
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 approach.
The Arlington Group, a coalition of Christian nutter organizations that includes Focus on the Family, met with Marriott International officials in April to try and persuade the hotel chain to stop offering pay-per-view adult movies in its rooms.
Marriott offers the programming in most of its 3,000 U.S. hotels, and the Arlington Group representatives urged the chain to adopt an "opt-in" television system, in which guests would have to contact the front desk to receive adult
entertainment. Currently, the programming is available in hotel rooms until guests opt out.
At the meeting, the group presented Marriott officials with 102,000 signatures from people wanting the chain to stop offering adult entertainment. Of those signatures, 9,000 were from Marriott Rewards Card members.
Marriott responded in a letter dated June 26 to Donald Wildman, president of the nutter action group American Family Association, which is part of the coalition.
The letter said the company was in conversation with its adult-entertainment provider, Lodgenet, about the opt-in procedure, said Roger Conner, vice president of communications for Marriott International. Marriott took no other action but promised it
would raise the issue at its owners meeting in late July, Conner said.
In a terse letter to Marriott dated July 14, Wildman imposed a deadline of Aug. 15 to hear a definite response on concrete actions taken toward the removal of pornography from your properties.
Rochester, Minnesota, was one of the first places to enact a smoking ban in hotels, now the city is going after publicly-available pornography.
Olmsted County passed a county-wide resolution for prevention of sexual violence, said Jeanne Martin. She says the public health initiative starts by asking Rochester hotels to voluntarily stop offering pay-per view porn movies.
Olmsted County administrator Richard Devlin says the first step will be to restrict employees from staying in hotels or motels that have pornographic material in the room. County Commissioners will vote later this year on whether to prioritize clean
hotels as the first choice for public officials and employees who travel.
Devlin hopes this message spreads across the state, eventually leading to all hotels restricting access to pay-per-view porn: That's kind of our ultimate goal, is to discourage that type of material in hotels and motels, said Devlin.
The Minnesota Department of Health has created a list of hotels that do not offer adult pay-per-view entertainment. 75% of hotels in the state with more than 30 rooms do not.
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.
Following news reports that an unnamed hotel chain customer of in-room television provider LodgeNet was planning to phase out
in-room porn, Marriott said that it was the chain in question.
But the company announcement also strongly implied, though it did not actually state, that existing rooms will continue to serve up adult fare while new rooms being built over the next several years will not.
Indeed, the announcement made to USA Today actually augurs more access to adult content in Marriott rooms in the future rather than less. Considering the company's stated commitment to upgrading in-room technologies that will supersede the
traditional way in which video and other in-room entertainment has been made available to its customers, guests can look forward to unlimited access to desired content of all types.
The company said in response to a query by USA Today:
It is our practice to keep adult content out of the reach of children and unavailable to any adult who chooses not to view it. We have strong controls in place that allow guests to block these materials. Changing technology
and how guests access entertainment has reduced the revenue hotels and their owners derive from in-room movies, including adult content. We are working with in-room entertainment providers and technology vendors to transition to the next
generation of in-room entertainment. This new platform of Internet-based video-on-demand will facilitate our exit from the traditional hotel video systems that included adult content in the menu selection, and will also provide guests greater
choice and control over what they watch across our system.
In a confusing statement perhaps referring to to existing hotel movie service, Marriott added:
As we transition to this new platform, adult content will be off the menu for virtually all of our newly built hotels. Over the next few years, this will be the policy across our system.
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...
Morality in Media is wetting its pants over the fact that Hilton Hotels & Resorts has announced a policy change: They will
no longer give guests the choice to watch X-rated fare on their in-room TV system.
In an emailed announcement to supporters, Morality in Media crowed:
Thanks to thousands of complaints from customers, and our leadership, Hilton has decided to make their hotels a safe environment and to no longer profit from sexual exploitation.
We want to publicly thank Hilton for its decision to create a safe and positive environment for all of its customers.
Hilton Worldwide will phase out pornographic programming from its hotel rooms' video-on-demand inventory. The company said that it currently doesn't offer pornographic films in the vast majority of its hotels and will phase it out at the remainder
of properties subject to the terms of their contracts. Hilton said in a statement:
We have listened carefully to our customers and have determined that adult video-on-demand entertainment is not in keeping with our company's vision and goals moving forward.
The Hyatt Hotel Corp. has announced that it will pull all adult entertainment from its guest rooms worldwide. Hyatt said adult entertainment
will be phased out as terms of contracts expire with each of the companies that provide Hyatt's in-room TV shows, movies and other entertainment.
Hyatt is following the lead of Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide that have already begun to ban porn from in-room entertainment systems. Hyatt did not explain why it made the decision, saying only:
Hyatt has made the decision to stop offering adult entertainment video on-demand at any Hyatt hotel.
Industry commentators say that the decision to remove pornography has been partly motivated by a steady drop in revenue from in-room entertainment throughout the industry as more guests turn to the Internet to download movies, games and video clips on
their laptops and portable digital devices.
A recent study by PKF Hospitality Research found that annual hotel revenue in the United States from in-room movie rentals -- including adult films -- dropped from $339 per room in 2000 to $107 in 2014.
The InterContinental Hotels Group has decided to remove on-demand pornography from every location in its
Dawn Hawkins of Morality in Media, now known as the National Center on Sexual Exploitation crowed about the decision:
We are grateful to Intercontinental Hotels Group for the priority the company placed on working with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in order to ensure that none of its hotels profit from sexual exploitation. InterContinental Hotels Group has
committed to rigorously enforce a brand standard prohibiting the distribution of pornography across all of its brands, such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza.
Free streaming pornography has largely made in-room, on-demand pornographic services unprofitable. Robert Habeeb, president and CEO of First Hospitality Group, estimated that a 200-room hotel could make just $2,000 a month from the rental of pornography.