When Quintin Washington tweeted a picture of a downtown Charleston, South Carolina street on Sunday, he presumably didn’t have any political motives or unspoken subtext. It was just a photograph of Charleston’s Mother Emanuel Way Memorial District, a designation that the area between Meeting and Concord Streets recently received, in memory of the nine citizens who were killed in a mass shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church on June 17. The church is visible in the picture — and so is the Courtyard Charleston Historic District Hotel.
Shortly after Washington posted the picture, he received a tweet from a staff member at the hotel, asking that he please not include the hotel when he’s taking snapshots of the church. “We respectfully ask you not to include the hotel in mother AME photos. TY,” someone posted from the Courtyard’s own Twitter account. When Washington responded to ask what, exactly, the problem was, the hotel blocked him.
Washington — and others on social media — were surprised by the hotel’s response to the picture, and to the way it swiftly attempted to shush him. According to The Post and Courier, on Monday afternoon, the hotel’s manager had apologized, blaming an unnamed staff member for “mishandling” the situation. In a statement, Interstate Hotels, which manages that particular Courtyard, said that it would be “taking steps to prevent this mistake from happening in the future.”
Reverend Norvel Goff, the interim pastor at Mother Emanuel, told the paper:
“Rather than see our church as a place to fear, if that’s their concern, we see it as a holy and sacred place that greets all walks of life seeking spiritual uplift and consolation. If anything, we’re a more formidable place of worship for all we’ve endured.”
Unfortunately, the church has had to endure a strange slight from the Courtyard. Ironically, Charleston’s more than 400 churches have long been a point of pride for the city, an impressive ecumenical assortment that has earned it the nickname “The Holy City.”