The Out Hotel, which had faced criticism and boycotts for hosting a fundraiser for Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, has been sold to Merchants Hospitality and will no longer cater to a gay clientele, according to a report in The Advocate. The hotel will also likely change its name, according to the New York Post.
It was in April 2015 when owners of the Out Hotel, Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass (who are themselves gay), hosted Senator Cruz and posed for photographs with the politician in their Manhattan penthouse. The controversial meeting was reported in the New York Times.
A heated online debate quickly followed, with many LGBT New Yorkers calling for boycotts of the Out Hotel and Reisner's venture in Fire Island Pines.
Both Reisner and Weiderpass moved to distance themselves from Cruz's political positions, each releasing statements in the days following the New York Times report.
It proved too little, too late for many, including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, whose executive director, Tom Viola, announced that the planned May 2015 edition of Broadway Bares Solo Strips, which was to take place at nightlife venue 42West, had been canceled. Viola stated at the time, “It is with regret that we have decided to cancel this year’s edition of the Broadway Bares Solo Strips fundraiser, which was scheduled for May 10 at the NYC club 42West. We cannot in good conscience hold an event at a venue whose owners have alienated our community, as reflected in an April 23 New York Times story and an April 24 follow-up post.
“We do business with and accept fundraising support from a variety of people across a wide spectrum of political and religious affiliations. The rich diversity of our community makes what we do together so special. It is a rare instance where the actions of a donor negatively impacts us as an organization and potentially jeopardizes our relationship with others whose support is integral to our success. But when it does occur, in a way that’s blatantly against all we stand and work for, we can’t pretend it doesn’t come with consequences. Silence is not a neutral position. It is complicit. This is not about partisan politics or punishment. This is about doing what’s right to ultimately ensure that our commitment to the men, women and children we serve cannot be questioned.”
Others who canceled events include the AIDS Walk, New York Gay Men's Chorus and Urban Bear. Although the outrage lessened over time, business did not pick up, according to the Advocate, which states that the “hotel, restaurant and nightclub will no longer cater to a gay clientele.”
Merchants Hospitality, according to the Post, intends to “bring in one of the city’s premier night club groups and reposition all the restaurants with celebrity chefs and lounge operators.”