But then again, 50% of Viceroy is owned by the Mubadala Investment
Company, a sovereign wealth fund in Abu Dhabi. Its CEO is the grandson
of the former top Sharia judge there.
Some 50% of Viceroy was owned
by Jho Low, the businessman at the center of Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal
that dragged in sections of its government and assorted Muslim royals.
The Justice Department seized some of Low’s assets and the Abu Dhabi
wealth fund was negotiating to buy that 50%, but it’s unclear who now owns the other half of Viceroy.
Viceroy’s true hometown in Abu Dhabi is about as feminist as a tampon portrait of RBG.
Women have “male guardians” who run their lives and decide whether
they can travel and the Sharia Court of Appeals found that men have the
right to beat their wives. Female genital mutilation is commonplace, and
rape is only a crime for girls under fourteen years old.
Hugging a man without the benefit of marriage however is a crime.
Foreign tourists who reported being raped were sentenced to prison
because they had confessed to extramarital sex. In other words, it’s the
usual sort of Sharia setup.
And don’t ask about “sexualities.”
“Unnatural sex with another person” gets you 14 years prison. That’s
progressive in a region where Iran hangs gay people. And it’s not the
only one dispensing death penalties freely.
All of this is a little awkward for a feminist hotel that boasts of
its “provocative art” produced by “feminists of both genders” who are
“working globally for the cause of human rights.”
A giant tampon portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a very convenient
distraction even if it’s not too clear how all those “repurposed
tampons” are advancing human rights around the world.
The business model is a familiar one. Take an underwhelming hotel,
and renovate it into a “luxury urban lifestyle hotel” by throwing lots
of bad art, and virtue signaling at every inch of it. But the investors
are often foreign, looking for someplace with potential to put their
Last year’s reviews for The Donovan mentioned
smells, leaks, and dirty toilets. The hotel had been renamed several
times and showed up in the D.C. Madam’s phone records (probably not one
of the accomplishments of female empowerment that the current management
would like to celebrate, but you never know) and then a $25 million
renovation gave it a feminist makeover.
Now if there are any leaks, visitors will be too distracted by all the feminist virtue signaling.
Washington D.C. is leading the nation in the trend of woke hotels with extremely un-woke owners. The Eaton Workshop had been
previously announced as a woke hotel with crystal healing, politically
correct lectures, and bibles replaced with UN pamphlets. But its
ownership was linked to a Hong Kong family entangled with Chinese
Like the NBA, Disney, and the rest of the huge corporate titans, woke is reserved for America.
Opening a hotel in D.C. that blathers about oppression or feminism is
fine. It’s just marketing to the ruling class of a government town that
sees oppressors everywhere except in the mirror. But don’t expect any
lectures about human rights in a Hong Kong hotel or feminist tampon
portraits in the hotels of Maldives or Abu Dhabi. That’s the difference
between virtue and virtue signaling.
So many corporations have been happy to shout, “Black Lives Matter”,
lecture on “toxic masculinity”, ban gun owners, and pro-life activists
because that’s the official dogma. Every dot com from Amazon to Spotify
will rename Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples Day, because that’s what
the ruling class here wants, the way the PRC’s ruling class wants Mao
There’s no contradiction between Sharia law in Abu Dhabi and tampon
portraits in D.C., or Communist propaganda in Shanghai and Black Lives
Matter t-shirts in San Francisco.
It’s not about rights, principles, or commitments: it’s about power.
That’s why shoving the Uighurs in the NBA’s face is a great own on
Twitter, but not much else. The NBA doesn’t care about rights. No more
than Disney or any corporation shooting off emails about its commitment
to racial equality and the millions it’s sending to Black Lives Matter
When most Americans were patriotic, corporations also wanted to be
seen as patriotic. But these days most Americans matter about as much as
most Chinese or most Venezuelans.
The ruling class has a new set of mores and virtues to distinguish it
from the folks, as Obama once put it at a San Francisco fundraiser with
George Soros in attendance, bitterly cling to their guns and religion,
instead of bitterly clinging to their Black Lives Matter signs and RBG
The luxury hotels of D.C. cater to the new ruling class and its mores and fetishes.
The Zena Hotel, like the Eaton Workshop or any of the new urban
luxury leftist hotels, doesn’t represent rights, but the power of the
ruling class to repress the rest of the country. The more obnoxious,
crude, hypocritical, and abusive its propaganda, the greater its show of
The propaganda can be about female empowerment, the glories of Maoism
or Sharia law, but their real message is in the universal language of
the power and preening of the ruling class.
In D.C., Democrat women can be groped by Biden before checking into a
feminist hotel where tampon portraits and murals of female goddesses
and warriors make them feel empowered. It’s no different than the Muslim
women who claim that Sharia law empowers them. Empowerment is different
from freedom. Rights provide real freedom while empowerment offers a
One is a legal reality and the other is an emotional feeling.
A brief history of the tyranny of the Left is that it substitutes
emotions for rights. Its empowerment doesn’t promise freedom or rights,
only the thrill of power over others.
“Every architectural line, material and art peinstallation was
thoughtfully designed and curated to send a message of female
empowerment,” a story about the Zena Hotel claims.
It’s not about the empowerment of women. The Zena Hotel is still a
product of two massive companies with male CEOs, not to mention Islamic
emirates with male rulers, and even the hotel’s chef is a man. But it is
about the empowerment of some women of the ruling class, not to rule
over their male bosses, but the rest of the country which lacks their
wealth and power.
A ruling class doesn’t seek to empower women or anyone else, but to
hold and wield power. Zena’s portraits of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, of
Hillary Clinton and Oprah are not about rights: they’re a celebration of
the power of a ruling class while pretending that power is feminism.
And if you get too worried about the wife-beating in Abu Dhabi, here’s a tampon mural of RBG.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman
Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist
and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.