The company contracted to set up the stage at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference says it designed and built the structure, and there was no intention to copy a symbol that was adopted by the Nazi regime.
The accusation spread on social media when a tweet by the Daily Beans Podcast asked, “Has anyone else noticed the shape of the CPAC stage is the Odal Rune/SS insignia?”
Has anyone else noticed the shape of the CPAC stage is the Odal Rune/SS insignia? pic.twitter.com/TCns4B1tq8
— The Daily Beans Podcast (@dailybeanspod) February 26, 2021
The Forward reported the stage company, Design Foundry, took responsibility for the design.
The company told The Forward it “had no idea that the design resembled any symbol, nor was there any intention to create something that did.”
The company said CPAC approved the plan, which was focused on providing “the best use of space, given the constraints of the ballroom and social distancing requirements.”
The contract said, “The designs, renderings, drawings, specifications, materials and other documents used or created as part of the proposal are owned by Design Foundry.”
The company also has provided services to MSNBC, Google, Citibank and Target in recent years.
Ian Walters, communications director for ACU and CPAC, said: “ACU and CPAC have no interest in promoting antisemitism from our stage, whether it’s what happens on the stage or the design of the stage itself. It’s clear that the company we retained designed a stage that has become an unwelcome distraction. As a result, we will not be using that company’s services going forward at future events.”
Design Foundry told The Forward it was “saddened and horrified at the accusations that this was a deliberate act. Design Foundry denounces all hate speech and acts of racism, prejudice, or bigotry in all forms.”
American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, whose organization put on the Conservative Political Action Conference, called the Nazi-symbol claims “outrageous and slanderous.”
“We have a long standing commitment to the Jewish community,” he said. “Cancel culture extremists must address antisemitism within their own ranks. CPAC proudly stands with our Jewish allies, including those speaking from this stage.”
Business Insider reported the stage resembled a Nordic rune that appeared on Nazi uniforms.
But it is also used in non-extremist contexts as well, the report said.
“Runic alphabets predate the modern Roman alphabet and were used widely across Europe,” Business Insider said. “They were appropriated by white supremacists due to the use of runes by Nazi Germany.”
Hyatt hotels, where the event was held, said if it had known of any “potential connections to hate symbolism,” it would have “proactively addressed it prior to commencement of the event.”
The company later released another statement calling the insignia “abhorrent and unequivocally counter to our values as a company.”
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