In January this year, Bristol Women’s Voice discovered that The Marriott Hotel Bristol is hosting ‘An Evening With Floyd Mayweather’ on the 8th of March 2017, which is also the date of International Women’s Day. Mayweather is a man who has long history of violence against women, including several convictions and Bristol Women’s Voice does not believe we should be providing a platform for him to speak and sell his image. In February 2016 the Colston Hall cancelled a similar event after objections from women’s charities and groups. Ashton Gate, who were previously hosting, canceled the event stating that it went against the family values of the club and stadium.
A petition has been created to urge the Marriott Hotel to cancel the event. You can sign the petition here.
There will also be a protest outside the Marriott Hotel – details can be found here.
On 30th January 2017, Bristol Women’s Voice wrote an open letter to Marriott Hotel, City Centre Bristol. A copy of the letter is below:
To whom it may concern,
It has come to our attention that the Marriott Hotel is hosting an event called ‘an evening with Floyd Mayweather’ on the 8th of March 2017, which is also the date of international women’s day. In February 2016 the Colston Hall cancelled a similar event after objections from women’s charities and groups. Tour events in other cities including Cardiff were also cancelled, and Jonathan Ross pulled out of hosting the event.
Mayweather is a man who has long history of violence against women, including several convictions. We do not believe that the Marriott Hotel should be providing a platform for him to speak and sell his image, especially on a day celebrating the achievements of women. The idolising of a dangerous perpetrator of domestic violence is unacceptable and we believe you should cancel your event.
Over fourteen thousand women and girls aged sixteen to fifty nine suffered from Domestic Violence in Bristol last year. In a time of austerity when services for domestic violence are being cut, and still two women a week are dying in the hands of male ex/partners, we believe providing Mr Mayweather with a platform to speak, particularly without questioning him about his violent, misogynist acts, gives a dangerous and damaging message to the public.
As a community we must stand together against violence against women and challenge the idea that talent and money make it excusable. By not providing Mayweather with a platform we can make that stand and choose to tell him and others that his actions and behaviour are not acceptable. Many of the women that face domestic violence do not have a platform to speak from and we believe that seeing Mr Mayweather speak and be celebrated will further their suffering and anxiety and reconfirm that actions such as his are acceptable. Those who face domestic violence often have a long and difficult recovery suffering from social stigma and lack of action by officials and we do not want them to feel that access to justice is dependant on celebrity status.
We should remember that one in three women globally will experience violence at the hands of a partner. Domestic Violence is not a rare incident and we must all take action to put an end to it.
We urge you to take this matter seriously and cancel your event. If you choose to go ahead with the event you risk damaging your otherwise good name.
We look forward to your response on this matter.
On behalf of:
Bristol Women’s Voice
SARSAS (Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support)
Bristol Sisters Uncut
On 1st February, Bristol Women’s Voice received the following response:
Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with me. We are a hospitality company that simply provides public accommodations and function space. Acceptance of business does not indicate support, or endorsement of any group or individual.
Disappointed with this response, Bristol Women’s Voice wrote another letter to the Marriott, again urging them to reconsider. A copy of this letter is below:
We are wholeheartedly disappointed by your response that the Marriott Hotel is “a hospitality company that simply provides public accommodations and function space. Acceptance of business does not indicate support, or endorsement of any group or individual.”
“We demonstrate our purpose, values and principles of responsible business through policies on employment, human rights, environment, supply chain, and in the conduct we uphold and expect of others.”
“We Act with Integrity
How we do business is as important as the business we do.
We hold ourselves to uncompromising ethical and legal standards. This extends to our day-to-day business conduct, our employee policies, our supply chain policies, our environmental programs and practices, and our commitment to human rights and social responsibility.”
We ask that you please clarify how these principles of “responsible business” and “uncompromising ethical standards” is in keeping with your decision to host Floyd Mayweather on International Women’s Day?
Further, we would like to draw your attention to some other points to take into your consideration. As we previously explained in our initial letter, many women in Bristol suffer from domestic violence but we also wanted to draw your addition to the fact that statistically, there may be employees of the Marriott Hotel City Centre too that are impacted by domestic violence. The Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence have produced a handy calculator that helps you assess the cost impact of domestic violence on your workforce – we recommend that you look at this tool which is available to view here.
In addition, we want to draw attention to the impact domestic violence has on the workplace. The lost economic output of women affected, costs the UK £36.7bn annually. The cost to UK businesses is over £1.9 billion annually. In the UK in any one year, more than 20% of employed women take time off work because of domestic violence and abuse, and 2% lose their job as a direct result of the abuse. 56% of abused women arrive late for work at least five times and 58% miss at least three days of work a month. On average, workers who experience domestic violence miss 26% more work time due to absenteeism and lateness than workers who do not experience violence.
As an employer, the Marriott has a legal obligation and responsibility to support and protect your employees. You must adhere to legal requirements around health, safety and the mitigation of harm to the physical and emotional wellbeing of employees. You have a duty of care to the people you employ, for example ensuring anti-harassment, discrimination, and bullying within your codes of conduct. By hosting Mayweather, you are compromising the duty of care are that you give to your staff.
Again, we ask you to re-consider your decision to host Mayweather at the Marriott on International Women’s Day.
Bristol Women’s Voice
Bristol Women’s Voice has also written to the event sponsors asking them to reconsider sponsorship:
Bristol Blue Glass
Whats on Bristol
As of date of publication of this post, we are yet to receive a response from any of the sponsors, nor a further response from the Marriott Hotel.
On February 27, the Bristol Post announced that it was pulling out of holding the Women of the Year Awards 2017 on March 9 at the Marriott Hotel, City Centre. Instead, it is now being hosted at an alternative venue. More details can be found here.
On February 28, the following businesses and organisations have joined BWV as signatories to the open letter to the Bristol Marriott:
- UNISON University of the West of England
- Bristol University Student’s Union
- UNISON SW
- The University of West of England
- Hollie Gazzard Trust
- Bristol Disability Equality Forum
- See it From Her