COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado resort said Wednesday that it will not host a conference organized by a national anti-immigration group following criticism in the wake of violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs did not offer any explanation or comment on the cancellation of the VDARE Foundation conference that had been planned for April, other than saying that it "remained committed to respecting the privacy guests at the resort."
The Connecticut-based VDARE Foundation, a tax exempt charity, posted a notice about the event being canceled on its website, along with another one telling supporters that PayPal had kicked it off its payment service without warning for avoiding its use terms.
The organizer of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Jason Kessler, is a contributing writer to VDARE's website. But group founder Peter Brimelow says the group does not advocate violence and had nothing to do with the rally.
"Cheyenne Mountain Resort's cancellation is a further example of what President Trump has correctly called the Alt-Left: a conspiracy against the civil liberties of Americans by internet vigilantes," he wrote on the website Wednesday night.
Elsewhere on the website he told supporters that he suspected it was kicked off PayPal over Charlottesville, which he said "is being used as an excuse for the authoritarian Communist Left to punish anyone who disagrees with their anti-American violence against patriotic people."
He has previously denied that his group and website, named after Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America in 1587, is white nationalist. But Brimelow has acknowledged it publishes works by writers who fit that description "in the sense that they aim to defend the interests of American whites."
The group planned to hold a conference at a lodge in Yosemite National Park earlier this year. But its private operator canceled, saying hosting the event would violate its values.
Opponents of the Colorado gathering launched an online petition to pressure the resort to back out. On Tuesday, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, a Republican and former state attorney general, said the city would not provide any support or resources for the gathering and said it was committed to enforcing anti-discrimination laws.
"I know I am joined by many Colorado Springs residents when I say I appreciate Cheyenne Mountain Resort's action to cancel this conference, and its conscientious decision not to bring this group to Colorado Springs," he said Wednesday.