The Beverly Hills Hotel, a Hollywood institution since 1912, is used to being the site of many celebrity events. These days, the city’s famous elite are keeping clear because of ties to the Sultan of Brunei.
In April, the country instituted strict Sharia laws that would result in harsh punishments against those found guilty of “crimes” like homosexuality, adultery and getting an abortion, punishments that include stoning people to death.
On Monday, Jay Leno stood beside protesters across the street from the iconic hotel, saying he wanted to “make people aware” of the injustice and the hotel’s ties to it. Ellen DeGeneres says she won’t be going to the hotel “until this is resolved.” Richard Branson, Sharon Osbourne and Rob Reiner have also spoken out against the hotel. The Feminist Majority Foundation, Teen Line (a helpline for teens), The International Women’s Media Foundation and The Night Before the Oscars party have all been pulled from the venue. The pre-Oscar party is one of the most-star studded of the year and has been held at the hotel since 2003, raising $60 million for charity over the past dozen years. According to a spokesperson for the hotel, a total of nine events have been canceled out of a total of 550 that the venue hosts each year.
Christopher Cowdrey, CEO of the Dorchester Collection, which owns the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, has been quick to respond, speaking to the media directly about the issue. But what he’s been saying is terrible.