Miles Lozano, the (Jewish) Shangri-La Hotel public relations manager, stressed in a telephone call with The Jewish Press that “much of the trial focused on the business policies of the hotel.” When asked how the jury could have found violations of the California Civil Rights Act and found that Adaya was liable for numerous counts of intentional infliction of emotional distress – a tort with very strict standards – for mere business protocol irregularities, Lozano’s response is that the Unruh Act is an “umbrella act and not specifically about anti-Semitism.”
Lozano repeatedly stressed that the hotel is going to partner with ZOA in an event it will host. He explained to The Jewish Press that the steps Adaya is taking are intended to address the Shangri-La’s public relations issues, whereas the court case dealt only with the legal issues.
The ZOA is now dealing with some negative fallout from their decision to cancel the protest, with some claiming that their decision gives Adaya “Jewish cover” for her actions. But Arfa said that Adaya’s public statement condemning anti-Semitism was “instructive about the power of Jewish activism.” The hotelier had never made a public statement like that before, and her donations to Israeli organizations and offer to host a pro-Israel ZOA event in the future was important. The ZOA’s public statement about their decision included the following:
Although, based on a finding of clear and convincing evidence, the jury held that Ms. Adaya and the Hotel acted with malicious intent in evicting the group of Jewish young professionals, we believe that her statement exhibits the Jewish value of teshuva, repentance. Thus, the main purpose of the protest, which was to express outrage at anti-Semitism as well as Jewish pride, has been sufficiently addressed. We look forward to working with the Hotel to hold a Jewish community event that also expresses Jewish pride and support for Israel.
When asked whether, in his opinion, Adaya had done “teshuva,” as indicated in the ZOA’s press release calling off the planned protest, Turken was pointed: “In my personal opinion, Adaya feels remorse, but her remorse is not for her egregious conduct, she feels remorse for being caught.”
Adaya said she will appeal the jury’s verdict.