The Gill Action Fund, an LGBT action group, rescheduled their conference location from the Beverly Hills Hotel after learning the owner is the Sultan of Brunei, a country that adopted anti-gay policies, and now celebrities and companies are joining in on the boycott.
The East Asian country’s prime minister, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, owns the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. His hotel group, the Dorchester Collection, also has hotels in London, Paris, Milan, and Rome.
Recently the country of Brunei, which has a population of about 400,000 people, passed laws including being stoned to death for homosexual acts. Last week a group called “Dump the Beverly Hills Hotel” got together outside the hotel to protest. Ellen DeGeneres, Sharon Osbourne, Stephen Fry, and designers Brian Atwood and Peter Som are some of the big names that have joined the boycott by voicing their opinions on twitter.
“I won’t be visiting the Hotel Bel-Air or the Beverly Hills Hotel until this is resolved,” DeGeneres tweeted.
“Please join me in BOYCOTTING @BevHillsHotel, @HotelBelAir and all @DC_LuxuryHotels,” Osbourne tweeted.
Virgin founder and CEO Richard Branson also joined the boycott.
“No @Virgin employee, nor our family, will stay at Dorchester Hotels until the Sultan abides by basic human rights,” he tweeted.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has called upon organizations with events scheduled at the hotel to join the boycott as well.
“Presently, the Aviva Family and Children’s Services, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, Cedars-Sinai Medical Hospital’s Helping Hand of Los Angeles, Colleagues Helpers in Philanthropic Services, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs, the Partners in Care Foundation, and Teen Line in collaboration with Sony Pictures all have events scheduled at the Beverly Hills Hotel over the next month,” HRC said in a statement.
“There are a number of hotels and venues in the Los Angeles area that aren’t owned by foreign leaders and governments that allow for the execution of its LGBT citizens. We’re encouraging members of the LGBT community and our allies to consider those options instead of the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air – which are part of the Sultan’s Dorchester Collection. In addition, we’re calling on organizations that have upcoming events scheduled at these hotels to move them to other locations,” the statement continued.
The Feminist Majority Foundation has announced that they will be relocating their Women’s Rights Awards from the Beverly Hills Hotel to another site.
“We cannot hold a human rights and women’s rights event at a hotel whose owner would institute a penal code that fundamentally violates women’s rights and human rights,” the foundation’s president Eleanor Smeal said in a statement.
The laws in Brunei are based on Islamic Shariah law that took place May 1. They include stoning as a punishment for homosexuality and criminalization of apostasy.
“We have very serious concerns regarding certain provisions of what you just mentioned,” State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf said of the new laws. “We’re watching how the law will be implemented.”
Brunei will be joining Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, and parts of Nigeria and Somalia in using death as a punishment for homosexuality.
“The decision to implement the [Shariah penal code] is not for fun, but to obey Allah’s command as written in the Quran,” Bolkiah said on April 30.