Update: Event organizer A Voice for Men announces new venue for the conference.
A controversial conference for a men’s rights group in Detroit appears to be in jeopardy after a fallout with downtown’s Hilton DoubleTree, which planned to host the event from June 26-28.
The inaugural conference at the DoubleTree has been canceled for unknown reasons, and organizers of the first International Conference on Men’s Issues haven’t said yet whether it will be moved to another hotel and conference center.
“At this time, they are not booked with us,” Larry Brown, manager of the DoubleTree, said this morning. He declined to elaborate on the cancelation.
But event organizers with A Voice for Men said they will be announcing a new Detroit venue for the conference later today.
“We have rescheduled the venue on another site,” Voice for Men founder Paul Elam told us. “The conference is going on.”
The event has provoked outrage among opponents of the Men’s Rights Movement, which has been labeled as a troublesome group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its staunch anti-feminism.
About 200 protesters gathered outside the DoubleTree on Saturday to demand that the hotel cancel the event.
When asked Tuesday whether the event would be moved, an organizer responded: “The DoubleTree GM (general manager) actually said that he has ‘feminist phobia’ and sort of laughed but in a nervous way. So its being discussed.”
It’s questionable whether this conversation ever occurred because the general manager is a woman.
A Voice for Men claims boys and men are oppressed by irrational feminists. The group also accuses women of exaggerating the severity of rape and denounces “the institution of marriage as unsafe and unsuitable for modern men.”
Organizers of the demonstration amassed more than 3,000 signatures from opponents of the conference.
Check back for updates.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.