Romney, Who Defended ‘Right’ to In-Room Porn at Mormon-Run Hotel Chain Marriott, Back on Board

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has confirmed that he is back on the board of Marriott International, Inc., a position he held prior to his bid for office in 2011, where he had come under fire for the company’s sale of pornography in its hotel rooms.

According to reports, Mitt Romney, whose full name is Willard Mitt Romney, was named after the founder of the company, John Willard Marriott. The Marriotts are devout Mormons, and have been friends with the Romney family for decades, especially Mitt Romney’s father George.

Romney first served on the board of directors in 1993 before giving up his seat in 2002 to serve as governor of Massachusetts. He rejoined the board in 2009, and left again when he embarked on his bid for the White House in 2011.

“We are delighted that Governor Romney has agreed to rejoin our board, on which he has served with distinction twice before,” CEO J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr. wrote in a statement this week. “We will benefit from his tremendous energy and capability to guide long-term success in an increasingly complex business environment.”

“It is an honor to once again be able to serve in the company of leaders like Bill Marriott and Arne Sorenson and to support the work of the tens of thousands of Marriott associates who make Marriott International the renowned success that it is,” Romney added.

J.W. Marriott, Jr. applauded Romney this past September for helping to increase the acceptance of Mormonism in the nation while speaking at Wolfeboro Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in New Hampshire.

“That’s a great tribute to Mitt and Ann and their family for living such an exemplary life,” Marriott stated. “Now that we’re out of obscurity, everybody is looking at us and saying, ‘Are you as good as the Romneys?'”

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Marriott is known for placing the Book of Mormon along with a copy of the Bible in its rooms.

However, not only has the hotel chain, which operates hundreds of locations across the country, been known for its promotion of the Book of Mormon, it has also been under criticism from Christians groups in recent years for its ties to pornography. Mitt Romney is among those that have been questioned as to why the hotel chain continues to offer adult pay-per-view channels to its guests.

“I am not pursuing an effort to try and stop adults from being able to acquire or see things that I find objectionable; that’s their right,” Romney told the Associated Press in 2007. “But I do vehemently oppose practices or business procedures that will allow kids to be exposed to obscenity.”

Company spokesman Roger Conner remarked that although conservative groups were urging Romney to stop the sale of porn at the hotel chain, he would not be allowed to do so because it would adversely affect profits at the Marriott.

“It certainly would have been wrong to impose his own personal beliefs if they were contrary to the financial interests of the company,” Conner said.

“The in-room entertainment operators who provide our systems rely upon a certain volume of movie types in order to be economically viable,” J.W. Marriott wrote to Bill Johnson, executive director of the Michigan-based American Decency Association, that same year. “If we were to eliminate the ‘R’ and non-rated offerings, the systems would not be economic.”

Marriott told Johnson that adult pay-per-view channels are a part of a movie package offered by entertainment providers, and that the two cannot be separated.

Focus on the Family’s Daniel Weiss criticized Romney at the time for not taking a stand against porn as a board member, but the ministry backed the Republican candidate during the 2012 presidential election.

“If [Romney] made money off pornography in the past, is he going to turn a blind eye to it if he’s president?” Weiss asked. “Because as chief executive of the nation, it’s his responsibility to make sure our nation’s obscenity laws are efficiently and vigorously enforced.”

Pornography is said to be a lucrative business in the hotel industry, and while estimates vary, it is stated that collectively $500 million is banked each year by hotel chains nationwide. Mitt Romney is reported to have earned $25,000 annually plus stock for his role on Marriott’s board of directors when he served in the 1990’s.

While reports state that new Marriott locations that are being built do not offer pornographic entertainment, many of the older hotels still provide “adult” services. Christian News Network confirmed with over a dozen Marriott locations across the country that the vast majority of its hotels do offer adult pay-per-view channels to guests.

A shift manager in New Orleans, Louisiana told Christian News Network that the facility has been in business for over 30 years, and that they have been offering adult services for as long as they can remember. A location in Romney’s home state of Massachusetts also confirmed that porn is offered through a service called LodgeNet. Hotels in Providence, Rhode Island; Miami, Florida; Des Moines, Iowa and Seattle, Washington all confirmed that adult pay-per-view channels are available to guests.

Several calls to Marriott International’s Media Relations Department were not returned. When J.W. Marriott’s office was asked how the company reconciles offering both the Book of Mormon and hardcore pornography to its guests, an administrative assistant who identified herself as Janet stated that she was unable to answer any questions.

“As Marriott International has grown to be a leading lodging company with more than 3,700 properties in 74 countries and territories worldwide, we remain grounded in a set of core values: put people first, pursue excellence, embrace change, act with integrity and serve our world,” the company’s website outlines.


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  • Wayne Dequer

    I understand the logic of allowing adults to make their own choices. It is a weighty matter to restrict freedom of choice for others. However, whenever profits become more important than principles we have lost at lest part of our integrity. For all Christians, including members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, we cannot keep the “great commandments” and put profits first. One of the reasons Mitt Romney lost the election in November was that a significant number of voters believed his commitment to capitalism was greater than his commitment to compassion.