Mandalay Bay Draws Ire of Religious Leaders Over Foundation Room Statues
Posted on: June 24, 2020, 01:05h.
Last updated on: June 25, 2020, 09:51h.
UPDATE: The Foundation Room issued a statement after publication of this article, saying it will be “removing the statue Mahavira from our premises” and that it’s “ working diligently to ensure such insensitive depictions don’t happen again.”
Religious leaders from five faiths are calling on MGM Resorts (MGM) to pull statues representing Hindu and Jain deities from the Foundation Room nightclub in the Mandalay Bay. They claim the objects’ presence in such a venue could be offensive to followers of those faiths.
The group — comprised of Buddhist Priest Matthew Fisher, Greek Orthodox Christian Priest Stephen Karcher, Jain leader Sulekh Jain, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, and Rabbi ElizaBeth Webb Beyer —approached MGM interim CEO Bill Hornbuckle and Chairman Paul Salem about having the statues removed from the nightclub. They also demanded an apology from the gaming company for what they called religious “insensitivity.”
The Foundation Room nightclub is located on the 63rd floor of Mandalay Bay and also features several Hindu icons.
“Hindu deities Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, goddess Saraswati, and others were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in a casino night club for dramatic effects or mercantile/other agenda,” said Zed, the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism.
“Such denigration of sacred deities was hurtful to the devotees,” Zed continued.
A request for comment to MGM by Casino.org was not replied to prior to publication of this article.
Not Running Away From Karmic Ties
The Foundation Room doesn’t avoid its plays on Hindu and Jain culture. The venue’s website encourages club-goers to immerse themselves “in our DEITY dancer experience” while highlighting the goddesses “who add the perfect touch of high-class debauchery.”
As was the case with other nightclubs and other non-gaming amenities, the Foundation Room was shuttered during the coronavirus closure. But its accompanying restaurant will participate in the Mandalay Bay restart next week.
If the restaurant does open with the same décor, Jain leader Sulekh Jain — a leader of the faith of the same name — is among those that won’t be pleased.
“The Pratima (statue) of Lord Mahavira belonged in a temple for veneration and not to be misused or mishandled by the patrons of a night club,” he said.
The faith leader says MGM should donate the statue to a Jain worship center.
Social Media Sounds Off
Though the Foundation Room’s decorating choices aren’t yet making national headlines, there are calls on social media for the club to rid itself of the idols. Recently, several Jain members demanded the statues be removed via the nightclub’s Facebook page.
“Report foundation room las vegas for hurting Jain and hindu [sic] religion morals,” writes one Facebook user. “Government of America should take legal action against them.”
Another said the Jain community would be “overwhelmed” if the pieces were pulled and “not only remove it, hand it to any Jain temple with all due respect.”