Opinion

Ted Cruz’s Gay Hosts Are Shunned, While Major Cult Leader Is Among Largest Donors To Broadway Cares

Ronn Torossian CEO, 5W Public Relations

Certain biases remain acceptable. There’s a full-fledged boycott against two gay New York City hoteliers who recently hosted an event in their home for Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). How would the media react if a Republican business owner hosted an event for a gay politician – and mainstream Republican-friendly organizations boycotted them as a result? There would rightfully be outrage.

The two gay hotel owners have been attacked and harmed financially – despite their long history as activists and philanthropists – for hosting a discussion with Cruz. (It wasn’t even a fundraiser.)

This is the liberal thought police at work.

Among those boycotting the hotels that Cruz’ gay hosts own is an organization named Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, who canceled fundraisers at their hotel, Out NYC.

And apparently while GOP candidate discussions are off-limits, further examination of Broadway Cares financials reveals that one of their handful of $100k-plus donors is “The Supreme Master Ching Hai.”

“The Supreme Master Ching Hai” is oft-described as the leader of one of the largest and most dangerous cults in the world. Websites owned by her followers describe her as God’s “immediate” and “direct” Contact. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

The supreme master attracted worldwide headlines some years ago as a major donor to Bill Clinton’s Whitewater legal defense. An LA Times feature reported on the sect’s strange interest in Clinton’s personal affairs, after the money donated had been returned.

The LA Times continued:

 Supreme Master Ching Hai, leader of a Buddhist-inspired movement that made massive contributions to President Clinton’s legal defense fund, gives new meaning to the term special interest.

The group — Suma Ching Hai International Assn. — is already under investigation by authorities in its home country of Taiwan. …

The group’s Internet Web site says that Ching Hai has no permanent residence, but when in Hong Kong stays in a cave formed out of the ruins of a cattle shed. “It looks like a fairy’s cave,” the Web site reports.

Executive Director of Broadway Cares Tom Viola wrote an email recently to the men who hosted Cruz in which he said, “Due to the controversy around the recent New York Times article that reported on the reception for Senator Ted Cruz as he begins his campaign for the Republican nomination for President, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS must cancel the upcoming presentation of our fundraiser, SOLO STRIPS at OUT NYC Hotel’s 42West. Unfortunately, when any politician publicly holds in contempt so much that BC/EFA stands for and the very people who we are committed to embrace, we cannot be seen or misunderstood as standing with him/her. And unfortunately, silence, or in this case inaction, is not a neutral position.”

Broadway Cares has the right to vocally oppose an event with a Republican Presidential candidate, and boycott a gay business leader for speaking with him. So, too do Republicans have the right to say to Broadway Cares that they will boycott Broadway. Does this New York City-based organization realize that theatre goers don’t all come from the island of Manhattan?

Will Broadway Cares return the money of their largest donor – a cult leader, as then President Clinton’s legal fund did? Or is money from a cult leader acceptable – but hosting a discussion with Ted Cruz is not?

It is a slippery slope when charities such as Broadway Cares choose sides and decide what sort of discussion is permitted. As the executive director of Broadway Cares noted, “silence, or in this case inaction, is not a neutral position.”

Will they lift the boycott on the gay hotel owners who dared to dialogue with Ted Cruz, will they refund the cult owners money (as did the Clintons), or will they be silent?

Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur & author of For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations.