Russell Crowe Defends Support of Brunei-Owned Hotels Despite Growing Boycott

Crowe

Russell Crowe took to twitter last week to defend his continued support of Brunei-owned Dorchester Hotels, despite pressure from boycotters protesting brutal sharia laws recently passed in the Southeast Asian country.

The boycott is backed by big names like Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, Richard Branson (and all employees of Virgin), Stephen Fry, and Sharon Osbourne.

Crowe tweeted that his support for the hotels was not a show of support for sharia law, but rather for hotel's American employees, whom he likened to "collateral damage" in the protest. 

Crowe

Despite Crowe's tweets, the boycott continues to grow. The New York Times reports that companies participating in fashion shows in Milan and Paris, which would usually stay at Dorchester Hotels, are going elsewhere. 

“While I am sensitive to the potential impact that this issue may have on the wonderful staff at Le Meurice, I cannot in all good conscience stay there, nor can Vogue’s editors,” Anna Wintour, the Vogue editor and Condé Nast artistic director, said through a spokeswoman.

In Milan, the Principe di Savoia is the hotel of choice for large swathes of the fashion community, including representatives from Calvin Klein, Salvatore Ferragamo and a number of magazines. A Condé Nast spokeswoman said that lodging choices were “left up to the individual brands, all of which have decided not to stay at Dorchester properties for the upcoming shows,” as has Miguel Enamorado, the fashion director of Brant Publications’ Interview. (Representatives for Calvin Klein and Salvatore Ferragamo declined to comment.)

American politicians are also voicing their disgust, not by boycotting Dorchester hotels, but by calling for Brunei to be removed from Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks unless they "address these human rights violations."

Comments

  1. franco says

    This is the problem with boycotting. Workers in those institutions tend to be caught in the crossfire. If you had friends or family working in these places, or financial stocks you might think differently about boycotting. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how you look at it), most proponents of boycotts have no direct or indirect ties to those establishments.

  2. gr8guya says

    While it is good that boycotts bring attention to an issue, they should not be expected to create any actual economic incentive for Brunei to change its policies.

    The income that these hotels contribute to the Brunei economy are minuscule compared to their oil and other revenue.

  3. Dback says

    Crowe has played gay at least once (“The Sum of Us”) and gay-friendly (or at least not-gay-freaked-out) in “Gladiator.” Though I don’t agree with what he’s saying, it’s not an unreasonable position. I’ll give him a pass on this issue.

  4. Jerry says

    DBACK: Don’t forget “gay-ish” in A Beautiful Mind (though they did cut most of that stuff out of the film).

    And, yeah, GR8TGUYA is right. The boycott is not going to even slightly inconvenience the Sultan, who has a net worth of $20 BILLION. That’s a little more than a quarter of what Bill Gates is worth, but still, boycotting the hotels won’t put a dent in the Sultan’s life.

    Not to say that we shouldn’t stand on conscience, but it HAS to be with the recognition that it’s highly unlikely that protesting isn’t going to do much to change the Sultan’s mind.

  5. Jerry says

    Oops. Brain Blank Moment.

    Try again:
    “but it HAS to be with the recognition that it’s highly unlikely that protesting will do much to change the Sultan’s mind.”

  6. Dastius Krazitauc says

    “The boycott is not going to even slightly inconvenience the Sultan, who has a net worth of $20 BILLION”.

    If the hotels are of no monetary consequence to the Sultan and Brunei, what is the point in owning them?

  7. Randy says

    Crowe is misguided. I don’t care how hard-working someone is. If they are working to enrich or promote evil people, it’s irrelevant.

    Find another employer. You know, like someone fired for being LGBT would have to do in Brunei (assuming they weren’t executed).

  8. bobbyjoe says

    Sure, Russell Crowe, you’ve sure been vocal about how boycotts affect workers before. Like when you… wait, you haven’t? And, historically, what’s your opinion about those poor, poor bus drivers who were inconvenienced by the Montgomery bus boycott back in 1955-56? If Russell Crowe was around then, I guess he’d have been standing with the bus companies? Sure, sure. Or maybe, like Bill Maher, Russell Crowe’s “concern” about all of this uppity activism is only when it’s about the gays?

  9. Bob K says

    Dorchester CLAIMS that they are making sure the employees do not lose income — have we heard that from any employees?

    @FRANCO — “If you had .., or financial stocks you might think differently about boycotting.”
    — MAKES YOU SOUND LIKE A WHORE AND A SELLOUT.
    If you would put your investment ahead of dead Gay people, you are a traitor, sorry.

  10. abel says

    Who cares what this bozo says or thinks? He has starred in at least two of the worst movies I’ve ever seen (ROBIN HOOD and NOAH). I hope never to see him again in anything.

  11. gregorybrown says

    I doubt that the Sultan is even aware that this hotel chain is part of his holdings.

    I remember those long-ago times when the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that would have given a Constitutional guarantee of gender equality to women was a live option, debatable as states voted on whether or not to approve it. The amendment failed to get enough states on board for its enactment.

    Many national organizations and interest groups started boycotts of states that did not ratify the ERA. Among others, the American Library Association decided to relocate its national convention. I thought that was fine until somebody pointed out that the boycott would have a highly negative impact on hundreds or thousands of women–the employees in low paying jobs at hotels and restaurants whose income was dependent on convention business. That is, not middle class women who were active in political “women’s organizations” but the women whose benefits from passage of the ERA might have been greatest.

    We should choose our battles and targets carefully. Lean on the politicians and the President before we unwittingly penalize people who have nothing to do with the Sultan’s evil choice. I suspect that at least some of those hotel employees are LGBQ or even T.

  12. alex says

    The guests not staying at Dorchester hotels end up staying elsewhere. The cancelled events end up at a different venue. Those places (and their hourly employees) get more business. If the boycott continues, those places might need to hire new employees.

    People at the low end of the pay scale almost always get hurt the most when leaders of companies make mistakes. Look to Enron, AIG, and Lehman Bros for examples.

    The employees need to bear some responsibility for ending up in this situation, too. With the exception of anyone hired before 1987 (when the Sultan bought the Beverly Hills Hotel), they should have known who owned the hotel. Unlike the anti-gay laws in Russia, Brunei has always a poor record on human rights for minorities.

  13. says

    There is another side to boycotts. Most focus on the impact it will have offenders but the others side is an individual’s or a company’s integrity. When in the know and when I have a choice, I choose to not contribute to those who work against the values and principles important to me.

  14. iban4yesu says

    True words need to be repeated
    😉 :
    This disgusting descendant of the hardened criminals has already proved to be a racist (that appalling crappy skinheads’ bible, Romper Stomper was his card to Hollywood). So I am not surprised.

  15. You're Irritating says

    WHEN YOU SCREAM BOYCOTT, YOU DON’T THINK ABOUT THE AVERAGE COMMON MAN AND WOMAN WHO HAS TO GFEED THEIR FAMILY. NO, YOU THINK ONLY OF YOURSELVES AND HOW YOU WANT YOUR WAY. YOU DON’T THINK THAT THERE ARE ALSO GAY MEN AND WOMEN WORKING FOR THESE HOTELS AS WELL.

  16. gr8guyca says

    @ dastius

    1: Owning a hotel network diversifies the holdings of the Sultan of Brunei.

    2: There is prestige and bragging rights to owning some of the world’s finest and most famous hotels: http://www.dorchestercollection.com/

    3: The Sultan and his family are probably staying at these hotels already and spending millions of dollars. They might as well get their rooms for free.

  17. alex says

    @Sean “When in the know and when I have a choice, I choose to not contribute to those who work against the values and principles important to me.”

    Good point. And it’s one that non-profit organizations always need to consider. One of the groups that cancelled events at the Beverly Hills Hotel included GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).

    To the IRRITATING shouter and others: Please provide an explanation of why a gay advocacy group like GLSEN should (indirectly) support someone who wants to kill the people they are trying to protect?

  18. MaryM says

    Is there an international arrest warrant out for the Sultan of Brunei for crimes against humanity?

    Why haven’t his foreign assets been frozen?

  19. Hol says

    Thank you, Russell Crowe, for some common sense here. There is a difference between what a country does and what a hotel owner does. The Beverly Hills has been a good friend and supporter of our community over the years.

    And by the way, Four Season Hotels and Fairmont Hotels are controlled by Prince Alaweed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia where Sharia Law also applies. What about them?

  20. arch says

    My partner works in 5 star hotel revenue management here in London, he informs me that the Dorchester Collection is being affected by the boycott. Apparently they are now reduced to certain groups of guests such as Arabs. The western and corporate clients have pulled their bookings.

  21. Nigel says

    Well the economy was challenging in Germany and if you could get a job to support your family you were lucky. You didn’t set the Nazi policy you were just doing your job. You only worked as clerical, administrative, or logistical support at the concentration camp, you didn’t actually do the killing.

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