San Diego Hotel at Center of Gay Boycott Has Been Sold
The San Diego hotel at the center of a longstanding boycott by a gay-rights group has been sold, and now its former owner is planning a new hotel in Austin, Texas.Doug Manchester, owner of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, drew the ire of gays and lesbians across California when he gave $125,000 to the Yes on 8 Campaign in 2008, which successfully repealed marriage rights for same-sex couples in the state. Openly gay public relations guru and current Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger led a boycott of the hotel with the support of a local employees union. The boycott organizers claim the hotel has lost at least $2.4 million in bookings as a result of their action. Others claim it could be as much as $1 million a month.
As the boycott heated up and news of it spread, Manchester was pressured by Hyatt and others to sell the hotel. But nothing happened until Host Hotels and Resorts announced a deal to buy the property in February. Karger tells OutQ News the successful boycott and eventual sale of the hotel has been a complete disaster for Manchester. He hopes Manchester regrets his donation to the antigay campaign and believes the boycott sends a powerful message to business owners who might do the same.
Karger said the hotel’s new owners hired people to hand out fliers at San Diego’s gay pride parade last weekend. But his group hasn’t ended their boycott. He has approached the new owners in hopes of sitting down with them to try and come up with a happy ending to this situation, one that will include their affirming their support for the rights of gays and lesbians.
The deal with Host was finalized in June around the same time Manchester announced plans to build a new hotel in Austin, Texas.