Less than a day after the event was publicly announced — and then reported by Theme Park Tribune — a fundraiser for Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley at a Universal Orlando hotel has been canceled.
The event drew outrage from Universal fans due to Hawley voting to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential race. Loews Hotels, which operates the on-site resorts at Universal Orlando, said in a statement that the event will no longer be held at the Portofino Bay Hotel, citing the violent mob attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, which it connected to Hawley’s vote.
“We are horrified and opposed to the events at the Capitol and all who supported and incited the actions,” Loews spokesperson Jennifer Hodges said in a statement to Theme Park Tribune. “In light of those events and for the safety of our guests and team members, we have informed the host of the Feb. fundraiser that it will no longer be held at Loews Hotels.”
The event, being held by a political action committee supporting Hawley, had been scheduled for February.
Josh Hawley’s leadership PAC just sent out a multi-font invite for a “fun-filled-family-friendly” fundraising event in Orlando next month amid the pandemic, featuring comic sans and three states pic.twitter.com/Bx4SrlPrmo
— Roger Sollenberger (@SollenbergerRC) January 15, 2021
Hawley was the first to publicly state he would vote against the certification of Biden’s win over Trump. Hawley’s reasoning was based on false claims about widespread voter fraud that had been rejected by multiple courts ahead of the Jan. 6 certification. After the process was interrupted by the mob attack — with five people dying in the melee — Hawley was accused of encouraging the riot, a charge which he has denied.
The editorial boards of Missouri’s two biggest newspapers have called on him to resign, with the Kansas City Star writing that Hawley “has bloods on his hands in the Capitol coup attempt.”
His vote has led to other corporations distancing themselves. Simon & Schuster canceled the publication of Hawley’s upcoming book, a decision the senator dubbed “Orwellian.” His reaction to the Loews cancellation was similar.
“If these corporations don’t want conservatives to speak, they should just be honest about it,” Hawley said in a statement. “But to equate leading a debate on the floor of the Senate with inciting violence is a lie, and it’s dangerous. I will not be deterred from representing my constituents, and I will not bow to left-wing corporate pressure.”
The invites were sent out just days after Universal’s parent company Comcast said it was cutting off financial support to Hawley and other Republicans in the House and Senate who voted against accepting the election results.
According to a Theme Park Tribune review of federal election records, Comcast has donated $15,000 to Hawley’s PAC in the last two election cycles. It also donated $20,000 to Hawley’s 2018 opponent, Democrat Claire McCaskill.
Overall, Comcast has donated more to Republican candidates and committees in federal elections ($4.9 million) than Democrats ($3.4 million) in the last two election cycles.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated after publication with a statement from Sen. Hawley.
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