‘Luxe’ fascism: In liberal Los Angeles, an immigrant-owned hotel hosts the far right—again
Fascists the world over are gathering this weekend at a posh hotel in an exceptionally white neighborhood of Los Angeles, where they will be guests of honor at a conference put on by an SPLC-designated hate group.
The Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, “a stylish urban retreat” with 162 rooms in the 84% white neighborhood of Brentwood (bordering Bel Air), often hosts weddings and film crews on its lush seven acres. But this weekend it will be hosting the far right in its pasty bubble, a pale exception in one of America’s most diverse cities. It won’t be the first time—and it won’t be the second, either.
The 2019 Global Freedom Movements conference, sponsored by the American Freedom Alliance, is a celebration of what most decent people lament, including: “Brazil’s new President Bolsonaro,” last seen setting fire to the Amazon; “Brexit,” a confusing and stupid thing that Britain has done; and “the election of Donald Trump,” the taste of victory soured by the president’s looming impeachment and public collapse into a mental state that is decidedly not chill.
Featured speakers include some of the worst people that Europe has to offer. Katie Hopkins, the loudmouth Greater Englander oft retweeted by the U.S. president and reportedly barred from South Africa for promoting the myth of “white genocide,” is delivering the conference keynote address and appearing on a panel about immigration titled “A Security and Cultural Faultline.” Alongside her will be Guy Millière, a French Islamophobe who has described immigration as a potential Islamic State “project to overwhelm Europe.”
That act will be followed by a discussion among members of Europe’s populist far-right parties, including Marc Jongen, an MP from Alternative for Germany and a self-styled reactionary who, with respect to the Holocaust, has argued against what he described as a “cult of guilt”; Roman Haider of the Austrian Freedom Party, founded by an SS officer and recently punished by voters over a scandal involving party efforts to obtain illicit financing from a Kremlin-linked oligarch; and Thierry Baudet, head of what Foreign Policy magazine describes as a straight-up white nationalist movement in the Netherlands.
“The listed speakers for the conference include some of the most prominent rank-and-file figures in the international far-right,” Jared Holt, a researcher at Right Wing Watch, a monitoring group, told me. “It is surprising to me that any venue would be comfortable hosting an event for the proliferators of this movement, who aim to spread its bigotry across the globe under a tissue-thin illusion of intellectual rigor.”
But the fact that it is providing space to a hate group will come as no surprise to the Luxe.