Wednesday, March 03, 2021


I'm going to lose a lot of you when I say this, but I have strong doubts about Nazi-Stage-Gate.

A stage is designed with squares, lines, and angles. It resembles ... not a swastika, but a Nazi symbol 99% of us weren't familiar with two weeks ago. It's for an organization that, yes, is evil. But it's an organization that wants to remain within the universe of at least semi-respectable entities in national politics, even if it does want to push the envelope.

I agree with this BBC journalist who covers disinformation, extremism, and conspiracy theories:

But okay, convince me. Tell me about the design process.

The Forward asked some questions and got some answers:
The company that was hired to set up the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida last weekend has taken full responsibility for the design of the stage that resembled a Nazi insignia.

In an exclusive statement to the Forward on Tuesday evening, Design Foundry, a stage design firm based in Hyattsville, Maryland, said it “had no idea that the design resembled any symbol, nor was there any intention to create something that did.” The organizers of CPAC have announced that it will not use the firm for future events....

Design Foundry said that the American Conservative Union approved the stage design, which was “intended to provide the best use of space, given the constraints of the ballroom and social distancing requirements.”

According to the terms of the contract signed with Design Foundry, and shared with the Forward, the ACU approved the design but had no rights to change the design or dismantle the stage. “The designs, renderings, drawings, specifications, materials and other documents used or created as part of the proposal are owned by Design Foundry,” the contract reads. Design Foundry has worked with CPAC for several years and has provided services to MSNBC and major corporations – including Google, Citibank and Target.

Ian Walters, director of communications for the ACU and CPAC, told the Forward on Tuesday that the design firm “provided several options for us to choose from and what we ended up with was the most workable of the options they submitted.”
Design Foundry's work has been seen at a wide range of events, including the 2018 Biden Cancer Summit and the American Museum of African American History's Mandela 100 Years Gala in 2019. In addition to MSNBC, Google, Citibank, and Target, it's done work for The Atlantic, National Geographic, the Trust for the National Mall, the Cleveland Clinic, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Why would a company like this, whose clients include Fortune 500 companies and prominent D.C.-based charitable organizations, endanger its standing in the industry, and in D.C., by deliberately slipping a little Nazism into a stage design?

But I hope another journalist asks more questions. Design Foundry's CEO is Annie Senatore. Here's her LinkedIn page. Here's her Instagram. Dig deeper if you think she did this, or let this happen.

It's conceivable that someone at the American Conservative Union slipped a sketch to someone at Design Foundry and said, "We'd like it to look something like this" -- I doubt it, but it's possible. If so, fine -- I hope someone gets to the bottom of this.

But I remain skeptical.


UPDATE: This is from Yashar Ali, who writes for HuffPost and New York magazine.

Also from Mike Rothschild, a journalist who specializes in discrediting conspiracy theories:

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