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Beverly Hills City Council Won't Join Boycott of Hotel, Here's Why

A council resolution wants to apply pressure on Beverly Hills Hotel owner Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah -- who announced he will implement Shariah law -- from a different direction.

Mayor Lili Bosse.
Mayor Lili Bosse.

Originally posted at 11:13 p.m. May 5, 2014. Corrected to fix a City News Service error.

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, other entertainers and human rights activists have called for a boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel due to its ties to Brunei's sultan, who recently announced the implementation of Islamic law, but the mayor of Beverly Hills said today the City Council is not among them.

Instead, Mayor Lili Bosse said she is supporting a resolution that will go before the Beverly Hills City Council Tuesday calling for condemnation of the government of Brunei for its new laws, which could allow Brunei authorities to order death by stoning for some behavior, including homosexuality and adultery.

"Unfortunately because of the ownership they have been in the shadow of what the owner has done," Bosse said.

Bosse said the resolution is about the government.

"This resolution is calling for the government to change their laws or to divest themselves of the Beverly Hills Hotel to separate the fact that our iconic hotel is under their ownership," Bosse said.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who owns the Dorchester Collection hotel chain that includes the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air, announced last week that he would move ahead with implementing Shariah law.

Bosse said the city's residents have shown strong support in the past for basic human rights such as gay rights, same-sex marriage and the right of all people to live with dignity.

"I'm hoping in the longer term we can affect change," Bosse said. "And the only way to affect change is to say we will not stand for this type of behavior and this type of treatment to human beings."

The city has a long-standing relationship with the Beverly Hills Hotel, going back 100 years.

"The laws in Brunei do not affect the operation of the Beverly Hills Hotel and are no reflection on the hotel's management and staff," according to the resolution.

The resolution states the council's action is meant to "contributed to local and international outrage and help reverse policies and laws in Brunei that do not uphold international human rights."

Christopher Cowdray, CEO of the Dorchester Collection, said the hotel chain is an autonomous company with a strict code of conduct that calls for equality and respect for everyone.

"We invest very heavily into our hotels and have over the past few years invested in excess of $150 million into this economy," Cowdray said. "... We are a very, very big contributor to the local Beverly Hills economy."

Earlier today, former "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno joined with demonstrators outside the Beverly Hills Hotel to protest the hotel's ties to the sultan.

"I'd like to think that all people are basically good and when they realize this is going on, hopefully they will do something about it," Leno said.

--City News Service


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