Jay Kemmerer pens letter to employees

JACKSON, Wyo. — Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) co-owner, Jay Kemmerer has been in the spotlight recently after hosting a far-right fundraiser and the fallout that ensued.

U.S. Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) headlined the House Freedom Caucus fundraiser hosted by Kemmerer held on Aug. 5 at Spring Creek Ranch.

Following the event, Patagonia cut ties with the resort. They will no longer supply the resort’s five retail stores with their products.

Yesterday Aug. 27,  JHMR President Mary Kate Buckley, sent an email to JHMR employees with the subject line, “IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM JAY KEMMERER.”

In the message, Kemmerer thanked the employees for their commitment and support of the resort.

He said, “My focus and priority have always been and will continue to be our team, our guests and continued investment in the business to enrich lives, create lasting memories, and preserve the environment we cherish and live in.  Recently, protests and the Patagonia boycott in response to my personal actions have made the news. I am writing to let you know what I stand for and what my commitment is to you, our valued employees.”

JHMR winter seasonal employee, Ariel Kazunas, spoke with Buckrail about the letter. Kazunas has lived in Jackson since 2015, working for JHMR during the winter seasons, most recently as a Ski Patroller. She participated in the protest on the corner of Highway 22 and Spring Gulch Road on the day of the fundraiser. She called the letter “a very willful lie” and a “non-apology apology.”

Kazunas questions if Kemmerer even wrote the letter.

“I don’t believe that Jay actually wrote this letter. It reads like a press release not like a letter from an actual human being who wants to make an apology,” Kazunas said.

The message from Kemmerer described the resort’s commitment to reducing environmental impacts and “providing a positive, engaging and safe workplace for our team.”

Kazunas took issue with these claims. “I think it’s pretty ironic that there was a lot of discussion in the letter about being a good steward. I don’t see how he can say those things and fundraise for people like Marjorie Taylor Greene.”

The letter stated, “I am saddened and troubled that my personal political contributions would negatively affect you and the Resort. It was never my intention to create unwanted media attention.  I want to stress that JHMR does not support any political candidates or political causes. The Resort did not co-host the fundraising event in question.  The contributions I make are what I believe are in the best interests of America, a Country I love with all my heart.”

“When you support Marjorie Taylor Greene we assume you feel the same way about supporting bigotry hate, homophobia, racism and anti-Semitism,” Kazunas said.

Kazunas also clarified that her concerns were rooted in Marjorie Taylor Greene, not the Republican Party. “Conservatism is not what I have an issue with, I am viewing this as a fundraiser for a very extreme side of the Republican party. To be clear, I view QAnon and its supporters as a very different entity of the Republican party.”

“I wish that the response would have been something more conversational and more willing to discuss why this was so hurtful and problematic and what could be addressed coming out of it. The people that work for you are frustrated and you are choosing to ignore it.” Kazunas said, adding, “What takes integrity is empathy. Writing off all the folks who have concerns with this is not empathetic.”

“I’m not asking them to change the world or their views but they [the Kemmerer’s] have demonstrated that they have cash on hand, so why not make affordable housing or pay staff a livable wage?”

About The Author

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.

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