UPDATE: The Woman Fired in Florida for Being a Democrat

hotel ufuk

Earlier this week, with your help, we started a Twitter/Facebook/Blog campaign to express outrage over Marriott Worldwide Vacation’s decision to fire a long-term employee for being a Democrat. Here’s a refresher and a report on the latest developments.

America’s Reservations with Marriott


Lester & Charlie got a call from Mark Felt this week and, predictably, he told us to “follow the money.” The money in question was a $1,000 campaign contribution from Marriott International to an incumbent Republican running for another term in the Osceola County Commission.

So we posted this:




Marriott fired a long-term employee, a Democrat, because she’s running for a seat on her local county commission. And it just so happens that Marriott supports her Republican opponent.

Let’s tell Marriott where we stand on punishment-for-politics. Here’s one way:

If you have a Twitter account, please post this:
@MarriottVacClub you don’t fire over politics #VivianaJanerJustice


Sleazy hotels have had a role in political scandals for as long as anyone can remember. But, usually, they just host the scandals — not instigate them. One upscale hospitality chain did just that, though, and they ought to hear that we don’t like it. That citizens care about this.

The culprit: Marriott Worldwide Vacations. The victim: Viviana Janer, who worked for Marriott and campaigns in her spare time for a seat on the Osceola County (FL) Commission. And she hasn’t given up, even though she was terminated from her job at Marriott.

Let’s get down to brass tacks:

  • Viviana Janer is a Puerto Rico-born-female-MBA and long-term internal auditor for Marriott — and a Democrat who has openly worked for social justice in her county
  • Viviana decided to run against an incumbent Republican for the Osceola County Commission
  • Viviana didn’t notify Marriott about her campaign because she was conducting it in her spare time and was a nearly-unfunded long-shot
  • Marriott’s former parent company went and donated $1,000 to her Republican opponent’s campaign
  • When Marriott found out that she was running against their Republican choice for the office, they fired Viviana citing “a conflict of interest” for the company


Cheers guest star and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tip O’Neil, famously mentioned that “all politics is local.” So let’s get local. Let’s start here. Let’s warn corporations that they can not control local politics by firing employees for getting involved in their own community. Isn’t it enough that they can buy and sell the ones that they like through Citizens United? Do they have to destroy hard-working people who want to improve their community, too?

Earlier this year, you guys helped us wage a hashtag campaign against Wells Fargo, a formidable corporation that decided to destroy a local business owner — just because they could. Within hours of the Twitter campaign, they contacted the victim and were begging us to call off the hashtags. Let’s see if we can do it again, folks! This might not be the biggest fish to fry, but… all politics is local. That’s where we start. Let’s tell them “enough.”

And then this happened:

The article got a lot of attention from outraged liberals, rational Americans and thousands of housebound people who spend their days joining hashtag campaigns on Twitter. People swore to stop staying at Marriott and some said they would give homeless people their Marriott Points so some homeless people could check in to a room for a free night.

Thing is, not everybody picked up on the fact that the campaign was intended to demand action from Marriott Vacations Worldwide, the company that fired Viviana, and not Marriott International, the company that funded her opponent.

Granted, it’s hard if not nearly impossible to tell the difference between the two companies since Marriott International used to own Marriott Vacations Worldwide and licensed their name to them so that people would think they’re still the same company and same trusted brand.

And it’s plausible that, because they want to keep that license, they were motivated to align with their former parent’s stated political goals — and therefore fire and defend daddy’s political opponent. After all, Mitt Romney sits on the board of the one they want to suck up to.

Yes, this is confusing. Marriott Vacations hid under their blanky during this Twitter battle but the former parent company jumped in and started pointing the finger at their former subsidiary. And at Lester & Charlie.

Where does it stand? Well, Mitt Romney’s cronies sent this to Lester & Charlie:

In an effort to provide accurate reporting, please correct the headline and facts throughout your story. Marriott International, Inc. (Marriott) did not undertake this action. This matter solely involves Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation. Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation (MVW) became a completely separate company from Marriott International, Inc. in 2011 as a result of Marriott’s spin-off of its timeshare operations. While MVW licenses the Marriott name, Marriott International has no corporate control or influence over the MVW Corporation.

 Stay tuned.

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