Boycotts | Brunei | Hotels

Beverly Hills Hotel Owner Feeling Bullied By Boycott: VIDEO


Thanks to Brunei's completely insane decision to stone people convicted of homosexuality, the celebrity-centric Beverly Hills Hotel is now the focus of a boycott as its umbrella group is owned by Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, one of the wealthiest men in the world. Given that Beverly Hills Hotel plays host to the entertainment industry elite, there is a lot of money to be lost by this boycott, particularly since it has attracted big names such as Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno, Sir Richard Branson, Sharon Osborne, and Stephen Fry, as well as a variety of high-end awards dinners and fundraisers.

CEO of parent company the Dorchester Collection Christopher Cowdray is calling foul, that the hotel itself has done nothing wrong to deserve the boycott. Said Cowdray in a report on Tuesday's CBS This Morning:

I feel totally unfairly picked on. All they are doing is hurting a local business.

Which, of course, is the entire point of a boycott: witholding financial support in hopes that the lack of business will prompt a company to change whatever it is that prompted the boycott in the first place. In this case, either encouraging Brunei to revoke its evil new "Kill the Gays" law (unlikely), or at least prompting the Dorchester Collection to rescind ownership of the hotel and thus cutting off a source of income to a man who has enshrined into law the bloodthirsty persecution of gays (more likely).

As of this writing Sultan Bolkiah has not made any public comment or acknowledgment of the boycott, though the Dorchester Collection has gone into PR damage control with Cowdray releasing this statement:

We have a truly global economy today. Look at all the foreign investments in hotels and real estate. Our hotels are autonomously run and in that way not tied to Brunei. Religious or political views have no place in our organization.

Watch Cowdray speak to CNN, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. "I feel totally unfairly picked on" = I can't believe I'm losing money because some people care about others being stoned and amputated to death.

    Posted by: mcgill | May 6, 2014 8:28:29 PM

  2. McGill,


    Posted by: petey | May 6, 2014 8:35:19 PM

  3. Unfortunately, lots of prominent properties in the US are owned by governments or individuals who do not hold our values -- including the Wall Street Journal and Fox.

    I don't think the Sultan is going to kill any of his wives or crash one of his hundreds of cars in anguish.

    Just as with Putin, the Sultan likely instituted the policy to keep the support of the local religion, and does not necessarily want to hate anyone.

    If the Dorchester Group REALLY wants to look better, they should offer to pay the wages and customary tips for alll the employees

    I hate that employees, particularly the Gay ones, are being hurt.

    Posted by: Bob K | May 6, 2014 9:00:36 PM

  4. This boycott does hurt the employees and has no measurable effect on the owner as any revenue from the hotel is fractions of a percent of his wealth. Unfortunately there is little that can be done via boycott that would effect the prince.

    If we as a country were serious about human rights we wouldn't do business with any country that doesn't follow internationally accepted human rights. Oh, I forgot the US doesn't either as we are the only civilized nation still with a death penalty.

    Posted by: Jason B. | May 6, 2014 9:02:28 PM

  5. Unfortunately, he should be directing his hurt and anger at Brunei. They are the ones with the law, and they are the ones putting the Dorchester Collection and employees in harm's way.

    A boycott by people who disagree with stoning people to death for being gay is the perfect thing to do to register your disapproval.

    I also carry a card in my wallet that lists Koch Brothers businesses so I don't buy their products.

    Every bit helps.

    Posted by: Steve Talbert | May 6, 2014 9:11:20 PM

  6. While I am sorry for the jobs that might be affected but the purpose of this boycott is to let them change. I personally like this because it actually is a hammer to them to CHANGE as quickly as possible.

    I am sorry, but stoning people to death is far more impt to be avoided than the loss of jobs. Both are terrible, but if I had to choose the lesser evil, I definitely would.

    And I am glad this is happening. Cut your ties Beverly Hills Hotel and it will be over.

    Bullied my ass. All they care is money when people in Brunei will get stoned to death. I think people want to make their voices heard the most way they can, they are just collateral damage.

    if they truly are businessmen, they know whaat to do.

    Posted by: rallyx | May 6, 2014 9:11:21 PM

  7. If the sultan were merely one of many investors, I'd have suggested that they mitigate the damage by donating to research in renewable energy (if nobody needs the sultan's oil, that will put a dent in his income). Unfortunately, he (or rather an investment group owned by Brunei, which really means owned by the sultan) owns it.

    Posted by: Bill | May 6, 2014 9:23:29 PM

  8. The boycott needs to continue and needs to be escalated to all of the a-hole's properties. Maybe he'll start paying attention then. Short term pain for the employees = long term gain for gay rights globally

    Posted by: dumbnhung | May 6, 2014 9:26:07 PM

  9. I have a confession to make; I love the Dorchester. No, I've never stayed there, but I had a most gracious experience in the bar there, a moment of true hospitality and kindness during a freezing December in a busy world, and it's one of my most prized travel memories.

    Today I know that the money that left my pocket enriched a small man with a hateful heart and a legal system that has decided I need to be stoned to death.

    So many people in the hospitality industry are truly wonderful, and I feel badly for them in this situation; these aren't just hotels, these are showplaces, the type of hotels that people can spend their entire career aiming to work at... but the answer has to be no. Not anymore, not ever again, not for any reason. Sharia law and the possibility of being stoned to death outweighs all other factors. Sanctions, boycotts, picketing -- all fair. All necessary.

    Anyone remember the Pride slogan from, I think it was 1986... "For love and for life/We're not going back."? Never again the back of the bus. Of checking yourself so you don't look too gay. Of listening to fag jokes. Of staying silent in the face of fear, of danger, of opposition. Choices have to made and sides taken, and history will judge us on the stands we take today.

    Posted by: Elsewhere1010 | May 6, 2014 9:31:58 PM

  10. While I wholeheartedly support the boycott, in reality this sultan wouldn't even recognize a change in the bank account. However the employees at this hotel most certainly will.

    Posted by: ny2.0 | May 6, 2014 9:39:38 PM

  11. I agree with some of the comments, the boycott will only hurt the employees of the hotel, some of whom must be gay. In this climate people need jobs especially all the illegals I'm sure this and his other hotels employ.
    Also, having stayed in this hotel, I can state it is waaaaay over rated and over priced.

    Posted by: I wont grow up | May 6, 2014 9:54:40 PM

  12. The employees of the hotel can get a job elsewhere. Gays who are stoned to death can't get a job anywhere.

    Posted by: petey | May 6, 2014 10:05:51 PM

  13. I’ve been a gay activist since the late 1970′s, named an early recipient of OUT 100, been partnered for 28 years and legally married to him for 4 years. I’ve donated a ton of time and money over the years.

    This boycott has really opened my eyes. We have become the bullies and zealots we supposedly fight against. Nobody at this hotel has done anything wrong. Many gay people work at the hotel and the management has always been, and continues to be, very gay-supportive. They provided employee benefits for same sex couples even before marriage was legal, they have donated money and facilities to LGBT causes, they advertise openly that they welcome same sex weddings.

    The only people this boycott is hurting are our friends. How sad so many in our community are willing to throw our friends under a bus to get a little publicity.

    The Sultan’s tens of billions of dollars of oil money is invested in hundreds of companies worldwide. The hotel is but a speck in his global holdings. Maybe this can convince him to sell the hotel, if he even notices what is going on or cares. That would be good. But he is a religious fanatic. Do you think he’s really going to change his religious beliefs because Ellen DeGeneres says not to stay at this hotel he barely remember he owns?

    NBC Nightly News aired a story about this tonight. Even Jay Leno said he had nothing against the hotel employees, who are wonderful and kind. Yet uninformed idiots are leaving comments calling the hotel homophobic and hateful. Nothing could be further from the truth. Idiots, all.

    NBC said that Brunei is smaller than Connecticut yet is the 5th richest nation in the world. Do you think this Muslim ruler is going to change his religious views because of a boycott of a speck of property that he owns? No, you will destroy the lives of our friends who work there. He could bulldoze the hotel down and sell off the land and it wouldn’t create the smallest dent in his wealth. Maybe he’ll just do that.

    If I sound livid, I am. Like I said, my eyes have been opened by this bullying I will continue to stay at the hotel, and I am going to change my will to eliminate leaving anything to gay groups, including HRC. The stupidity you are all showing is breathtaking.

    Posted by: Andrew | May 6, 2014 10:25:52 PM

  14. The most damaging effect of a boycott is for the sultan to lose face - how welcome is he going to be at his next international meeting? Will presidents and prime ministers line up for a photo-op with an international pariah? In the vodka action, the economic impact may be small but the publicity effect on Putin and his corruption was priceless.

    People who call this bullying have never been bullied; this is the vaunted free market in action - if consumers don't like the product or service, they're going to stay away.

    Posted by: Hue-Man | May 6, 2014 10:39:45 PM

  15. I hope the hotel closes and is boarded up. They can blame gays and the Sultan. There is no Hollywood elite anymore anyway. So, will sodomy screw a Hollywood Historical landmark? At least the pool parties won't be banned.

    Posted by: Gary Bebout | May 6, 2014 10:40:55 PM

  16. Sorry the hotel is caught in the crossfire of people losing their lives. Mr Christopher Cowdray while you are calling foul perhaps you should realize people are about to lose their lives. The least you can do is shut your piehole and perhaps look for a job where you aren't contributing to their plight.

    Posted by: Jeff | May 6, 2014 10:54:01 PM

  17. If any money whatsoever from this hotel goes to the Sultan of Brunei (and gee, I'm guessing it does?) then Mr. Cowdray needs to explain exactly why anybody who cares about human rights should spend even one penny there.

    Posted by: John B. | May 6, 2014 10:56:10 PM

  18. I agree, John B. The PR flacks may say that ideology has no place in the hotel, but if the profits go to a man who kills gay folks, or supports it, then it is immoral to stay there. Period. Andrew's hot air is only that.

    Posted by: Rob | May 6, 2014 11:02:09 PM

  19. Andrew,

    Saving gay men's lives is not bullying. You should be criticizing the bullying by the Sultan of Brunei's executioners.

    Posted by: petey | May 6, 2014 11:04:58 PM

  20. How does the Dorchester Collection and Christopher Cowdray fit into the picture? Is this organization owned by the Sultan, or does the Sultan hire them to run the hotel? I think Christopher needs to inform the Sultan that people don't like what he is doing to gay people. I think if he has any influence with the Sultan, he needs to pressure him. At any rate, though it would be unfortunate for the people who work at the hotel if it goes under, the lives of gay people in Brunei take precedence. If this hotel goes under, other hotels will benefit and should have positions opening up for the employees.

    Posted by: john patrick | May 6, 2014 11:17:26 PM

  21. Andrew, you honestly think protesting against gay people being stoned to death is bullying? Bullying? The mind boggles.

    Posted by: J. | May 6, 2014 11:27:22 PM

  22. "Nobody at this hotel has done anything wrong."

    Uh, they've giving profits to the sultan's holding companies, which is wrong. Honestly Andrew, that was the stupidest thing on this thread. The hotel could have decried the sultan and his despicable policies - which harm not just the gays, but slews of other minorities as well, including the Christians who now live under sharia law - but instead expressed no real sympathy with the people trying to do *something* to stop this injustice. Come on, some of the criminal penalties include dismemberment. And you're outraged about a boycott!

    Posted by: give me a break | May 6, 2014 11:28:47 PM

  23. Andrew...I wish I could say this in a nice way but I don't have time to waste on trash in short my little're pathetic and weak....goodbye.

    Posted by: Paul B. | May 6, 2014 11:39:56 PM

  24. Andrew, yes, please change your will and boycott the HRC. If you dare risk stoning, you and your partner could even move to Brunei to truly demonstrate support for the hotel's employees. Your outrage is misplaced.

    Posted by: Joe in Ct | May 6, 2014 11:47:32 PM

  25. What kind of psychological damage do you think Andrew has experienced to think gay people being stoned to death is okay? We've all experienced homophobia, but he's a special.

    Posted by: John | May 6, 2014 11:52:53 PM

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