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The Marriott Family's Civil War (washingtonian.com)
48 points by prostoalex 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 47 comments





This reminds me of how the family that owned the Hyatt hotels broke apart.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2003/05/andrews200305


Its quite common for family owned firms to break up in this way most don't go beyond 3 generations.

As a Mormon myself, I can sympathize with the son's anxiety over not meeting expectations.

Religion, in general, is about helping individuals become "better" people. In the case of Christianity (including Mormonism), this comes down to encouraging the development of attributes like love, compassion, empathy, hope, virtue, integrity, honesty, knowledge, patience, humility, etc.

One way to do that is to develop rules (or commandments) to help people identify actions that would help to develop those attributes.

People can get so caught up in the "rules" that they miss the whole point, which is really just trying to be a better person. This causes people to judge others based on their adherence (or lack thereof) to the rules. Rather, what the religion is really trying to get us to do is to lift one another up because no one is perfect.

The quote "rather he come home in a pine box than engage in premarital sex" is an example of this problem. You cannot help someone be better if you are always pushing them down.

I have family members that don't practice the religion anymore, but no one in the family has any less love for them.


>Religion, in general, is about helping individuals become "better" people.

Humans don’t need a religion to become better.

Religions exist only to demand and collect money and to grow ever larger.

>this comes down to encouraging the development of attributes like love, compassion, empathy, hope, virtue, integrity, honesty, knowledge, patience, humility,

Religion has no monopoly in these attributes, and indeed isn’t the source of them either.


What's with the bouncing arrow?

they want to be sure you know to scroll down

To make up for the shortcomings of a bad web site design.

The worst thing a father can do to a son without getting arrested, is to deprive him of his own name. It isn't as though "John Willard" is such a wonderful moniker that it must be inflicted upon the third and fourth generations.

Hope they don't screw up the SPG program over this.

Strictly religious family turning its back on the child who sees the belief as nonsense. It's an old story.

A reverse case : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._Murray

> William J. Murray III was born in Ohio in 1946, the son of William J. Murray Jr. and Madalyn Murray O'Hair, an atheist activist

> Murray became a Christian in 1980. Learning of his conversion, his mother commented: "One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of a mother, I guess; I repudiate him entirely and completely for now and all times. He is beyond human forgiveness."


That is equally crappy. To me the great crime of most religions (those that are thought of traditionally as religions as well as just philosophies) is that they brainwash the young in the most deceitful manners who become members by the sheer chance that they were born to believers.

That isn't the reverse; it's just the same thing happening to someone else.

Absolutely not what the article portrays. From my reading, it sounds like John's indiscretions, including stints in rehab for drug abuse, are tolerated (if not outright ignored) until he visits his parents to say he's getting a divorce. His parents then cut him off from the bulk of the family assets, but it sounds like his family is still in communication with him and tries to remain on good terms. Angry that his decision to indulge himself in a mid-life crisis and leave his wife and children cost him a lot of money, he is now filing a lawsuit claiming to be a victim.

I doubt John actually expects this lawsuit to go anywhere, as the article doesn't seem to discuss any actual legal claim. It's probably more just about airing dirty laundry if they won't let him back in the bank account. And to their credit, it appears the Marriotts are holding their ground.

As far as I'm concerned this article portrays 100% commendable behavior from the Marriott family (and religion is mentioned only in passing). If any of my children come and tell me that they're abandoning their spouse and children because they "fell in love with someone else", I hope that I can have similar resolve to cut off their access to anything substantial, because that is not OK, and a good parent will not pretend like it is.

Abandoning your family is not an acceptable course of conduct, no matter how many times you cry because your dad picked someone else to become CEO, which is literally the story here.


Leaving an apparently loveless marriage and getting a divorce doesn't mean abandoning your family. Most people who get divorced are still involved in their kids lives. My parents got divorced when I was 10 and my family was much happier for it. I don't feel any particular way about this man or his situation, but this idea that couples need to stay together for the kids or because that's what they promised 25 years ago is crazy. Not to mention that if this guy is 50 some years old his kids are likely adults by now or close enough.

> this idea that couples need to stay together for the kids or because that's what they promised 25 years ago is crazy.

The entire concept of marriage is that you will "stay together ... because that's what you promised xx years ago". So it's definitely not crazy, though the conception of marriage as a significant or binding thing has lost popular appeal over the years. And that only means that the Marriotts deserve more admiration for their willingness to stick up for stable marriages and responsible fathers despite the peanut gallery giving them flak.

There are times that divorce is justified, yes. But "I just don't love him/her anymore" is 1000% not one of them, and it's a relief to see people like the Marriotts unwilling to indulge their son's playboy fantasies.


A loveless marriage is not a stable one.

Am I supposed to feel bad for the tax evading repeat substance abuser who's still sitting on 8 figures but didn't get to cash in on the nepotism fueling his family's fortune? Everyone involved in this story sounds like a horrible person.

Maybe?

Bad people can still be the recipients of injustices or undue hardship. For an extreme example, you can still feel bad for a thief who gets tortured extensively.

You can even feel sorry for people who are led to ruin by their own hubris/etc. For an actual example: It's not insane to feel sorry for Travis Kalanick. Yeah, he sounds like a bad person. It would still really suck to see your "magnum opus" swept away from you. Did he need to be removed? Yes. Would I like to be friends with him? No. Do I still feel bad for him? Yeah, kinda.

Sure, the guy from the article kinda sounds like a dirtbag. Still, he was shunned from his family (and a close family at that) and is essentially losing all of his close social network because of staunch religious beliefs that most of us would call silly. That sucks.

People don't have to fall into this binary classification of "sympathetic" or "unsympathetic". I can feel bad for him losing his family and wife, but feel no sympathy for his financial situation.

As an aside, this is also part of what makes leaving cults so hard: The thought of losing your entire social circle, including your immediate family, is daunting. If you want to know why more people are involved in cults despite being seemingly normal, this is a big part of it.


> Sure, the guy from the article kinda sounds like a dirtbag. Still, he was shunned from his family (and a close family at that) and is essentially losing all of his close social network because of staunch religious beliefs that most of us would call silly.

Do most of us really consider 'don't leave your wife for your mistress' a silly belief? From the article, that really sounds like the reason he was cut off.


Silly in the sense that it's considered an unforgivable offense relative to how mild it actually is (in the realm of "ways you can screw up your life and others"). It's the staunchness that makes it silly.

If my sister cheated on her husband, I wouldn't stop talking to her forever or kick her out of the family (to the extent that I have that power). I'd be disappointed and it would affect our dynamic, sure, but it's not even close to a shunning offense.

Thinking on it, there's actually relatively few things she could do to warrant that kind of treatment.


"Don't leave your wife for your mistress" isn't a belief, it's a rule. Belief is saying that it applies across the board no matter what, no matter why.

I don't think you're supposed to feel anything. I think this article is just a PR move. Probably went something like this:

Kid: I'm gonna publicly tarnish the family's reputation if you don't give me my money

Dad: I dare you, but if you do, you won't get a cent.

Kid: I care more about hurting you than the money because (I feel that) you abused me all my life


Arguably they did I mean complaining about a beard when the guy is 50.

I can relate to being raised in the same wacky religion, and it does drive people to substance abuse, mental health issues, and inter-family rifts.

From the purely human part, the Guys has lost his wife and kids and possibly his whole social circle. That can be very damaging, even to very well of people.


It's just so terrible that this guy might have to sell off part of his "collection of vintage Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Corvettes, and Jaguars." How will he ever survive?

In a world where families coddle and enable bad behavior, it is refreshing to see a family that actually sticks to its principles.

He's a human.

Perhaps he is not deserving of sympathy or pity, but his life, and the reasons he is a substance abuser is a cautionary tale.

Perhaps when we talk about the orgy of capitalist conquest that we are collectively part of, we should reflect on the impact on not just the losers -- but the winners to.


The real impacts of "the orgy of capitalism" are already well known: the highest quality of living in humanity's history, longest average life expectancy ever, widespread access to education in all levels, peace, and most affluent population in the recorded history.

What's your point?


The point is when families measure their worth in economic terms, the people in those families suffer.

Read the story. He had a dad who worked 90 hours a week and contemplated suicide in 6th grade. His life sounds to have been directed and micromanaged well into adulthood, with an objective of keeping up the family brand above all else.

That’s a human tragedy.


> The point is when families measure their worth in economic terms

That's a silly argument. It's like accusing the concept of motorized transportation of being the scourge of society just because some random family out there might have had a bad experience by measuring their worth in terms of how many cars they own.


That's the impact of burning millions of years of solar energy, stored as fossil fuels, in the span of two hundred years, not of capitalism. Capitalism in a society without cheap access to energy wouldn't have given you any of these things.

And whether or not capitalism's dependency on fossil fuels can be broken before AGW cooks us is still an open question. If the worst case scenario holds true, will you also credit capitalism for it?


Capitalist countries have much higher standards of living than anti-capitalist countries. That is fact, not opinion.

And all of them completely rely on fossil fuels. Without them, we'd still have middle-ages-level wealth, life expectancies, and standard of living. [1]

Non-capitalist countries also made huge improvements in standards of living, as they industrialized. Again, industrialization is the common factor, not the economic system.

[1] Short, nasty, and brutish.


> Non-capitalist countries also made huge improvements in standards of living

Not as much as capitalist countries. That's the point.


If you want to credit that to capitalism, capitalism was a multiplier to national economic prosperity.

However, you need something to multiply for there to be any prosperity.

Capitalism for stone-age people would not have resulted in prosperity, wealth, or rising standard of living, just as it did not cause it in industrial age people. Fossil fuels did. Crediting capitalism is putting the cart before the horse.

Just because electrification happened faster in the West then the USSR, doesn't mean that electricity isn't the reason why both societies became more prosperous.

Life was largely shit for most people for most of history, and it wasn't because because people didn't figure out that private ownership of the means of production is more efficient at producing widgets then state-owned means of production.

When 70% of your population is growing just enough food to feed themselves, and the other 30% are banging rocks together to make tools for the first group, you don't have time to think about inventing antibiotics or bitcoin or bicycles.


That ignores about a billion confounding factors. Correlation, causation, not equal to, and all that

There are some experiments with control group. South/North Korea, West/East Germany. Taiwan/Mainland China.

Those "experiments" are not nearly robust enough to make such claims.

> Those "experiments" are not nearly robust enough to make such claims.

...and yet here you are making the exact opposite claims that have absolutely no basis in reality and go against any fact, and somehow you show no concern regarding lack of evidence or facts supporting your claims.


Why?

What are these confounding factors you speak of?

> Everyone involved in this story sounds like a horrible person.

I can't speak to the entire family, but in an old service-type job of mine about 10 years ago I would occasionally interact with one of the senior Marriott ladies at her home in Potomac (not sure if it was the patriarch's wife, Angie, or John III's sister). Some of the wealthy people living in that area are decent people, but Mrs. Marriott was not. Rather than speak in a normal conversational voice, she would yell orders across the room; when calling our office, she would berate the receptionist. Icy, cruel person.

Edit: Just found out it was Dick Marriott's wife, the sister-in-law of John III.


Agreed, very first world problems. Systematic substance abuser (I presume cocaine & prescription meds as is fashionable in these circles) and long-term alcoholic who cheats on his wife and leaves her, while still having at least tens of millions to fall back on. Poor guy resting out in Chamonix...

I can understand that his childhood was much stricter than average, but so were of many others without mega wealth and they didn't ended up as pathetic amoral wrecks. And of course he wants to milk his family for more.


Rich people have four things that go wrong in their lives: Drugs, divorce, very bad investments and entourages. Entourages being ever larger numbers of people hanging on to them and getting their expenses paid for just being friends.

Everything else pretty much takes care of itself and there are many trust funders who just live lives of little accomplishment and relative obscurity. This guy had most of those things go wrong, but he still made it out, the damage being he lost a zero or two from his wealth.


> Entourages being ever larger numbers of people hanging on to them and getting their expenses paid for just being friends.

Given the size of the wealth, I don't know why these people get a negative connotation. It's the job of those with wealth to share with those who don't have. Moreso if it's inherited.


[flagged]


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