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Kim Kardashian: ‘Boycotting The Beverly Hills Hotel Won’t Affect the Sultan of Brunei'

Kardashian

Kim Kardashian took to her blog today to speak out on the boycott of The Beverly Hills Hotel aimed at its owner the Sultan of Brunei. The boycott began in the wake of the Sultan’s implementation of sharia law in the Southeast Asian nation late April. Under the law individuals can be stoned to death if proven to have committed homosexual acts. Celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Richard Branson and Jay Leno have been vocal in their support of the boycott. And while Kim originally supported the boycott, pulling her bridal shower from the famed LA destination, she now believes that it is not the best way forward: 

For a sultan that has 20 billion dollars, this loss of business doesn’t even make a dent in his fortunes. But the hotel staff are being negatively affected every day with the boycott that has gone on for weeks now… We shouldn’t punish the amazing hard-working people who have been so good to us for years! …There must be other ways to express our views without punishing the workers, some who I know personally have families at home and depend on the city’s business and tips to survive…I support Rose McGowan and Russell Crowe’s takes on this matter. The unjust treatment and violation of rights of the LGBT community around the world is never justified and I will continue to proudly support the LGBT community in every way imaginable. I do believe though that instead of this boycott, there has to be another solution. I’m glad to hear that industry executives like Jeffrey Katzenberg and Casey Wasserman are reaching out to leaders of the hotel chain to discuss a way to potentially end the protest.

You can read Kim’s blog post in its entirety HERE

UPDATE: The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has pointed out that The Beverly Hills Hotel leadership promised to guarantee the jobs, incomes and gratuities of its employees following the uproar over the Sultan of Brunei's draconian laws. In an op-ed in The Hollywood Reporter this month, HRC Vice President Jeff Krehely said the sultan was turning his employees into 'human shields':

Dorchester [Collection -- the hotel group that runs The Beverly Hills Hotel] has said that its employees are the “victims” of these [protests] and that only they would feel the financial impact of Americans taking business elsewhere. Now the company has begun to parade employees -- some of whom would be subjected to the laws in Brunei -- and their stories into the media and online.

The ploy comes despite assurances that the company has guaranteed the jobs, income, gratuities and benefits of all of its employees during the controversy. This stands in stark contrast to its claim that actions against the sultan’s hotels will result in a big income loss for its staff. Its leadership is talking out of both sides of their mouths. Given the guarantees, how will its staff actually be impacted?

We urge Hollywood to see past this smokescreen. With $20 billion in the bank, the sultan can afford to support his employees. But what his company cannot afford to do -- if it wishes to fix its badly damaged reputation -- is continue to shamefully use its employees in a deceptive effort to shield the sultan from criticism.


Tuesday Speed Read: Obama, James Costos, Colorado, Brunei, Charlie Crist, Phil Bryant

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

Blue_obamaOBAMA PREPS EXECUTIVE ORDER:

The White House indicated Monday that President Obama has “directed his staff” to prepare an executive order to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The White House official could not say how soon President Obama intends to sign the executive order. But the news comes during Pride Month, just two weeks before the White House hosts its annual reception in celebration of Pride Month, and just one day before President Obama is scheduled to be at an LGBT-related fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in New York.

HIGH MAINTENANCE HOUSE GUESTS:

CostosThe openly gay U.S. ambassador to Spain and his partner hosted President Obama, the First Lady, and eldest daughter Malia at their house in Rancho Mirage, California, over the Father’s Day weekend, according to the Desert Sun. Ambassador James Costos and his partner, White House decorator Michael Smith, have a home in a gated community known as Thunderbird Heights. The President and First Lady headed back to Washington on Monday morning.

SENATE AGREES TO VOTE ON NOMINEES:

GaylesThe U.S. Senate voted 55 to 37 Monday to proceed to a vote on the confirmation of Darrin Gayles to the U.S. district court in Miami and, in a separate but identical vote, to proceed to a vote on the nomination of Staci Yandle to a district court seat in Illinois. If confirmed, Gayles will become the first openly gay African American to be appointed to a federal court bench. Yandle won’t be the first openly lesbian African American appointed to the bench but, if confirmed, she will be the first openly gay federal judge named to the bench in Illinois. The confirmation votes for both are  scheduled for 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

ColoradoCOLORADO JUDGE HEARS TWO CASES:

A state district court judge in Denver on Monday heard two consolidated lawsuits challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. The Denver Post reported that Adams County District Court Judge Scott Crabtree expressed skepticism for the state’s contention that 15 federal and state judges before him erred in finding similar bans unconstitutional.

LETTERS PILE ON AGAINST BRUNEI:

KerryMore than 100 members of the U.S. House signed onto a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry last Thursday, urging that the U.S. halt negotiations with the government of Brunei on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Noting Brunei’s recent adoption of draconian penalties for being gay, the letter argues that such agreements must insist that participating nations “adhere to internationally recognized civil, political, and human rights standards.” All seven openly LGBT members of the House signed on. Four national LGBT groups also sent a similar letter last week to President Obama regarding Brunei’s brutal laws against LGBT people.

CristEQUALITY FLORIDA AND HRC ENDORSE CRIST:

The statewide LGBT group Equality Florida and the Human Rights Campaign both made independent announcements last Thursday that they are endorsing Democratic candidate Charlie Crist for the Florida governor’s race in November. Crist has a primary in August but is expected to win the nomination easily against two little-known candidates.

BryantCENTRAL PARK GREETING:

A small group of protesters followed Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant around Central Park Saturday to express their unhappiness with the state’s new “religious freedom” law, which goes into effect July 1. The protesters, which included members of GetEQUAL Mississippi, staged a mostly silent protest, and some hosted their own “Big Gay Mississippi Welcome” dinner, according to the Hattiesburg American.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


100+ Lawmakers Urge John Kerry to Drop Brunei from Trade Talks Over Anti-Gay Stoning Law

More than 100 members of Congress sent a letter to secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman urging the U.S. to tell Brunei to repeal its law that calls for gays to be stoned to death or be expelled from trade talks, according to the Hollywood Reporter:

Pocan"We write to express our concern over the Government of Brunei Darussalam’s recently adopted penal code, which threatens the human rights of minority groups including women, religious minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and urge you to insist that Brunei address these human rights violations as a condition of the United States participating with them in any further Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations," according to the letter drafted by Congressman Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Madison, Wisconsin.

The letter is going to Kerry on Thursday, according to Pocan, who hopes to get more lawmakers signed on before then.

Read the full text of the letter at THR....


Rose McGowan Defies Boycott, Hosts Party to Support Staff at Beverly Hills Hotel

BeverlyHills

Actress Rose McGowan hosted a party in support of the staff of the Beverly Hills Hotel, as well as to send a message of defiant love to the hotel's owner the sultan of Brunei. 

The Dorchester Collection, to which the Beverly Hills Hotel belongs, has become the center of an international boycott sparked by the recent passage of sharia law in the southeast Asian nation of Brunei. The DC is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, which is a part of the ministry of finance in Brunei. Stars such as Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno, Richard Branson, and Stephen Fry are leading calls for celebrities and those with influence to stop supporting the hotels.

"I want to assemble a group of men and women (and hopefully some adulteresses,) that would be stoned in Brunei but that will be welcome at the BH," said McGowan, reported The Huffington Post.

The party was attended by friends of McGowan who weren't convinced that a boycott would affect the sultan, but would rather have a detrimental effect on the hotel's staff. 

Reports The Huffington Post:

"Rose and I came up with the idea for this whole thing together," [McGowan's friend Amanda] Goodwin said. "We were talking on Facebook about what was going on here, and we just thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if we got together some fabulous people, gay and straight, and responded to this hate with love instead of ignoring it?'"

"Listen," Goodwin continued, "I'm gay. I'm married to a woman. I hate what the sultan is doing to people in Brunei. But I don't think that responding to what he's doing with more hate is the answer. I really feel that way. I think it's great that we're here, being gay, sitting on his sofa. I really want to gay this place up.

"A lot of people have asked me whether I'd go if it were Hitler," she said.

Well, would she?

"Probably. I think I would. I'd go, and I'd say, 'I'm a Jew.'"

McGowan isn't the first celebrity to balk at the boycott. Russell Crowe took to Twitter last week to defend the hotel's staff, whom he sees as "collateral damage" in the campaign. 


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."


Equality Illinois Calls for Challenge of Brunei Ambassador Over Country’s Anti-gay Law

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 11.39.07 AMThe Chicago Council on Global Affairs plans to host the Brunei ambassador to the United States at a meeting in Chicago today and Equality Illinois is calling on participants to bring up Brunei’s new anti-gay law punishing homosexual acts with death by stoning.

Via press release:

“We should take every opportunity to challenge and express opposition to this obscene law that violates all norms of human rights,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest organization advocating for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans.

“Many nations make life difficult or create outright bans on their LGBT citizens but few go as far as Brunei in instituting a heinous death penalty for being gay,” Cherkasov said. “American businesses with global interests should specifically avoid doing business in Brunei, lest they place their employees at risk because of their actual or perceived LGBT identity.”

Brunei Amb. Dato Yusoff Abd Hamid will be joined by five other ambassadors of countries in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).


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