The Beverly Hills Hotel will once again be the site of some rather serious protesting this Saturday, as outraged citizens from across the city converge on the upscale property. The plan is to rather vocally (and visually) bring attention to the Sultan of Brunei, who owns not only the hotel but a number of other high-profile properties around the world, including the Hotel Bel-Air, under the umbrella of his Dorchester Collection.
The Sultan, one Hassanal Bolkiah, oversees the small but vastly wealthy country of Brunei, where Sharia law has been implemented. As Wehoville points out, this would allow the country of Brunei to sentence gay and lesbian people to be stoned to death, among other atrocities — which is exactly why James Duke Mason, a member of the West Hollywood Gay and Lesbian Advisory Board, is plotting the boycott.
This isn’t the first time the hotel has come under fire
This isn’t the first time the Dorchester Collection has come under fire, either. The issue has been simmering for nearly two years now, with occasional protests that include actors and activists as diverse as Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, Richard Branson, and John Legend. Employees of the overall Collection contend that the business has nothing to do with the politics of the Sultan’s home country, and that any lasting boycott would negatively affect only the staff members who work at the properties being picketed.
In the years since this issue has arisen, the occasional protests have had mixed effect on the restaurants and hotel business on site. GLAAD reported back in 2014 that the ongoing boycott had cost the company some $1.5 million, though in the interim celebrities have once again been spotted enjoying the famous Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Anyone interested in lending their voice can attend the gathering alongside Assemblyman Richard Bloom at Will Rogers Park, across the street from the hotel, this Saturday between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.