Richard Branson Announces Virgin Will Boycott Dorchester Hotels Over Brunei’s Anti-Gay Stoning Law


Virgin founder and CEO Richard Branson today joined what's becoming a very large boycott against Dorchester Hotels, which are owned by the Sultan of Brunei, over his implementation of an anti-gay law which punishes homosexual acts with death by stoning.

The hotels include the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles.

Said Branson in a tweet: "No @Virgin employee, nor our family, will stay at Dorchester Hotels until the Sultan abides by basic human rights"

HRC has also called on organizations to boycott the hotels:

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.

Said HRC's Chad Griffin:

“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.

Other high-profile figures and organizations boycotting the hotel chain are actor Stephen Fry, designers Peter Som and Brian Atwood , Ellen DeGeneres, Sharon Osbourne, director William Friedkin, and the Outgiving conference.

“I have attended various events at both hotels over the past several years.  But given the extreme nature of these developments, I feel strongly that we in the LGBT community and our allies should take our business elsewhere.”


  1. Mark says

    Given time, I believe this boycott will pick up steam. I’m not so sure the Sultan will change his views of things, but it’s a fair bet that the hotels will experience a serious drop in revenue.

    Boycotts do take time to gain momentum, but when they reach critical mass it can drive businesses out of business. After all, there’s only so many haters out there these days that will support a bigoted business anyways.

    What’s amazing to me is the proximity to Hollywood and the risk of alienating the most rich and powerful people in the world. Someone needs to picket outside on the public sidewalk with a large photo of a stoning victim, so people can see it as they approach the valets.

    I’ll bet that would ruin a lunch or two at the Polo Lounge.

  2. James Bradshaw says

    Candide …

    Really? You really find no substantive difference between opposing legal gay marriage and thinking gay men should have their brains bashed out of their heads?

    To compare people like Mozilla’s Eich to men like the Sultan shows an incredible lack of nuance or even intelligence.

  3. UFFDA says

    The Sultan of Brunai (Sultan my ass) is one of those Muslim morons who sends a design team ahead of him to redecorate the hotels he stays in so that his candy-ass color sense won’t be offended. He did this in Seattle years ago and I wondered that the newpaper editorials didn’t make a mockery of him. Can you imagine a Bill Gates (way richer) or a Steve Jobs (RIP but still far more important even in death) doing such a thing, as if their little sensibilities might be taxed by
    some design disharmony? Mr. Sultan is a fool

    Nelson Mandela was what a great man is. The Sultan is a small one. Who should be stoned.

  4. candide says

    lol. were it not for the restraints placed on them by living in a liberal democracy religious right anti-gay bigots like eich would be trying to implement draconian anti-gay laws and penalties.

    like the box turtle boys you’re living in la-la land,feeding the false meme of a gay mafia and the persecution of anti-gay christians. like them, you’re doing damage to our movement by saying opposition to gay marriage is morally acceptable. it isn’t.

  5. James Bradshaw says

    Candide writes: “You’re doing damage to our movement by saying opposition to gay marriage is morally acceptable.”

    I’ve argued for gay marriage for years with a wide variety of folks. There are some who support civil unions but not gay marriage (don’t ask me to explain why) and others who oppose gay marriage but strongly support ENDA laws. To act as if all of these people are hate mongers is ridiculous.

    Look, I oppose legalized polygamy even though there are “decent folks” who may be involved in it. Does that make ME a hater? If you don’t support legalized polygamy, does that make YOU a hater?

  6. Eric says

    It is unrealistic to think that a Muslim dictator worth tens of billions of (oil) dollars will change his religious views over a boycott of one speck of his world holdings, but who knows. Good luck to those who are trying.

    I feel sad for the employees of The Beverly Hills Hotel, though, who will be directly suffering. A lot of them are gay. The hotel has historically been gay-supportive and welcoming for many years, long before it became “fashionable.” It is too bad that a friend of ours has been caught in this crossfire.

  7. candide says

    lol. equating polygamy with same-sex marriage shows how stupid you are.

    opposing civil ssm does make people haters and bigots. it’s a separate but equal issue.

    many southerners who supported jim crow claimed they weren’t haters or bigots. they were just defending a traditional stable social system which was justified on their understanding of the bible. they thought they were doing god’s will and what was best for the negro who they thought, like abraham lincoln, was congenitally inferior and would never be the equal of whites.

    they were still haters and bigots. yes. even abraham lincoln was a hater and a bigot.

    accomodationists and bigot appeasers and enablers like you and the box turtle boys can just step aside as we finish this job–a job that has been made much easier by the extreme success of the nohate campaign–which is based on labeling opponents of ssm as bigots and haters.

  8. octobercountry says

    @James Bradshaw: Well, I suppose I’d say if a person doesn’t support the idea that gay people should have equal rights to straight people in every way, that DOES make one a hater.

    As for your polygamy question—that’s a false equivalency. Polygamy is not legal for anyone in the entire western world—so opposing polygamy is not making one a “hater,” in the sense that such an opposition does not support bigotry or prejudice. (By saying NO ONE should be allowed to have multiple spouses, you’re not putting any one group of individuals above any others, or saying that one group is inherently better than another.)

  9. James Bradshaw says

    “Polygamy is not legal for anyone in the entire western world—so opposing polygamy is not making one a “hater,” in the sense that such an opposition does not support bigotry or prejudice”

    So what? Gay marriage wasn’t legal either.

    Your opposition to polygamy is based on YOUR own particular code of morality and ethics, one that fails to take into account the very real needs of polygamous families that DO exist. Are you a hater or not?

    Yes, I think many folks who oppose gay marriage ARE unthinking haters. My point is that not ALL of them are, just as your opposition to the legal recognition of polygamous families doesn’t necessarily render you an unthinking brute.

    I’m asking for nuance, that’s all. Opposition to gay marriage is often simply based on a lack of knowledge. So educate them.

    Was Barack Obama a “hater” when he initially opposed gay marriage? Did you vote against him because of his initial stance?

    People can be swayed with reason. They’re less likely to be swayed with insults.

  10. James Bradshaw says

    PS … all this being said, YES … boycott everything of the Sultan’s.

    His position merits it. He’s proven himself a thug and theocrat.

  11. James Bradshaw says

    PS … all this being said, YES … boycott everything of the Sultan’s.

    His position merits it. He’s proven himself a thug and theocrat.

  12. Lery Laflamme says

    @ UFFDA
    I believe I know the Seattle hotel in question. What is sad is that when I toured the property (over ten years ago now), their marketing team used the Sultan connection to ‘sell’ the suite. Sadder is that the décor was butt-awful. I mean, bad. Years ago, there was a running joke amongst the international interior design fraternity that the S.O.B. was the patron saint of faux finishers. Seems every specialist painter in the business listed at least one project for the S.O.B. in their resumé. Guy must be on record as being responsible for every rag-rolled wall on the planet. Now, there’s a reason for a boycott.

  13. octobercountry says

    @James…. Um, what the heck are you talking about? I have said nothing about my own opinion of polygamy, pro or con.

    And—I’m still not expressing an opinion. It is up to the people who support polygamy to try and make the case for it, to have the institution recognised by the government. Polygamy has nothing to do with marriage equality for gay people. Marriage equality is all about the idea that the legal rights given to straight people should also be given to gay people.

    Again, you’re making a false equivalency by bringing polygamy into this, because neither gay nor straight people are legally allowed to have multiple spouses. Again, the issue has NOTHING TO DO with the struggle for gay people to have the same rights as straight people.

    What I AM saying is that in my opinion, any reasoning that legally places gay people in a secondary or inferior position (in regards to marriage, employment, housing, etc.)is bigoted in nature. Period. Such a person is saying a gay person isn’t worth as much as a straight person—and that’s bigoted, no matter how sweet and kindly the individual expressing such opinions may be.

  14. candide says

    lol. no nuance needed. opponents of same sex marriage are indeed haters and bigots. that includes obama and clinton when they were opposed.

    the only nuance you need is to know there is a continuum of haters and bigots. pat buchanan is on the more severe end of the spectrum; obama was on the more mild end of the spectrum when he opposed same sex marriage, for whatever political reasons he may have had at the time.

    homocons are trying to undermine the movement by trying to make opposition to same sex marriage and anti-gay bigotry morally acceptable and defensible. it’s not.

    homocons are generally disturbed individuals, unable to accept the fact that so many of their family members, most of whom oppose same sex marriage, are indeed anti-gay bigots. so they try to enable their bigotry by trying to excuse the unexcusable.

  15. Patrick says

    Hooray for people /organizaions : Sir Richard Branson,Stephen Fry,Ellen DeGeneres,Sharon Osbourne,Peter Som & Brian Atwood,William Friedkin ,the Outgiving Conference, Jay Leno and all of the other prominent and connected people who are taking a stance against brutal Sharia laws. Anyone who supports said laws are heinous people( like many of our republithug officals-they just don’t acknowledge their support; it’s all part of their agenda to roll back any progress made in this and other countries).Hopefully this boycott gains traction and the hotels the Sultan owns are sold and he is sued in international courts for being a horrible ,evil person. Google his family..NOT pretty.

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