When it comes to drafting a cancellation clause for an event contract, there’s one thing that some planners might fail to consider: the property can invoke it, too.
Case in point: On October 17, the Hilton Houston Post Oak by the Galleria announced that it will not host the annual conference of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, which was contracted to be at the property from October 27 to 29.
In light of public backlash after the October 7 attack in Israel by Hamas, a Palestinian group designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization, hotel management cancelled USCPR’s booking.
"The safety and security of our team members and guests is our top priority," the hotel said in a prepared statement. "Given escalating security concerns in the current environment, the hotel has determined that it cannot serve as the venue for this event because of the potential risks to our team members and guests. Our priority is and will remain the safety and security of everyone we welcome at our hotels."
Among the 48 sessions and workshops on the event’s schedule was a presentation by Linda Sarsour, a pro-Palestinian activist, and a keynote address by Rashida Tlaib, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives who is of Palestinian origin.
Shortly after the hotel’s decision was announced, the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights posted a statement to its website accusing the hotel of “capitulating to external pressure from hate groups.”
“The breach by Hilton is clearly an act of ethnic, racial, and religious discrimination,” the statement said. “Further, canceling the conference because of our organization's political positions goes against our First Amendment rights. Not only has Hilton breached their agreement with us, they have also sent a strong message that they stand on the side of hate and bigotry.”
“Moving forward, we will explore all options to remedy this.”