Marriott, Pro-family groups meet to discuss ban on porn

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
May 15, 2008

Contact:  Phil Burress, President, 513-733-5775

Marriott, Pro-family groups meet to discuss ban on in-room porn movies

Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, May 14, five national pro-family leaders met with four executives of Marriott International to discuss Marriott’s policy of making in-room pornographic movies available to its customers.

Phil Burress, president of Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values called the meeting “a step in the right direction.”

“A dialogue has begun,” said Burress.  “We made our case for the family.  They listened.  And they left the meeting agreeing to investigate two matters, and to get back to us by July 1.”

“More than 90 percent of Marriott’s properties are owned by independent franchisees,” Burress elaborated.  “Kathleen Matthews, Marriott’s Executive Vice President for Global Communications and Public Affairs and one of the four Marriott senior officials present, agreed to meet with Marriott’s property owners to pass on our concerns regarding the availability of pornographic movies and our request to remove such movies from their pay-per-view offerings.”

A second step agreed to by the Marriott executives was to investigate whether Marriott’s contract with LodgeNet could be altered to make pornographic movies inaccessible in rooms unless specifically requested by a guest.  LodgeNet is the nation’s largest provider of in-room services to the lodging industry.

“We made it very clear, though,” Burress emphasized, “that this change to an ‘opt-in’ policy would be a temporary fix — at best!  It would not put an end to our efforts to completely remove these destructive, degrading movies from hotel rooms.”

Representing the pro-family concerns, in addition to Burress, were Don Wildmon, president of the American Family Association; Tony Perkins of Family Research Council; Tom Minnery, Vice President of Public Policy for Focus on the Family, Dr. Barrett Duke, of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Bishop Harry Jackson, chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition.

Wednesday’s meeting was arranged in response to a letter sent on April 3 to Marriott’s Chairman and CEO, J.W. Marriott, Jr. and signed by 47 pro-family groups from across the country.

Many major hotel chains in addition to Marriott make pornographic movies available to their customers through their in-room pay-per-view menu.

“We have targeted Marriott,” Burress explained, “because these harmful movies stand in such contrast to their stated policy of championing family values.”