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Anti-Gay Sultan of Brunei Eyeing Iconic New York Hotels - VIDEO

Sultan

Hassanal Bolkiah, the homophobic Sultan of Brunei, has offered to pay around $2 billion to buy New York’s Plaza Hotel, along with Grosvenor House in London and the Dream Hotel in lower Manhattan, reports Huffington Post.

Bolkiah has faced severe criticism for Brunei’s new penal code which includes death by stoning as a punishment for homosexuality.

A number of celebrities - including Virgin founder and CEO Richard Branson - have protested against the Brunei-owned luxury hotel operator Dorchester Collection following the implementation of the country’s anti-gay laws. However, Russell Crowe announced his support for Dorchester, claiming that protests would “throw employees under the bus to make a political point.”

A statement from the hotel chain said that the company continues to “abide by the laws of the countries we operate in and do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind.”

However, activist group Human Rights Campaign’s Director of Global Engagement Ty Cobb said “the American profit stream that flows from [Bolkiah’s] hotels back to his regime needs to stop. We urge all New Yorkers to have one simple and straight-forward message for the Sultan: take your business elsewhere."

Watch a CBS News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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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."


Watch 'One Day More' From 'Les Misérables': VIDEO

LesMisOneDay

Raise your hand if you're excited to see Les Misérables. Good.

Well now you can get more excited by watching this video of the star-studded cast, including Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, Russell Crowe and Eddie Redmayne, singing one of the musical's most beloved, famous songs, "One Day More" AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Watch 'One Day More' From 'Les Misérables': VIDEO" »


Patti Smith And Russell Crowe, Blowing Minds In Reykjavik: VIDEO

PattiRussell

Russell Crowe's a busy dude. He's in Iceland at the movement to shoot a film called Noah, but yesterday he took a break from his on-camera work to perform not one, not two, but three brief rock'n'roll concerts around Reykjavik, perhaps in celebration of Reykjavik's annual "culture night."

He was joined onstage by his friend, the musician and actor Alan Doyle, and during his latter two appearances Patti Smith made a cameo, driving the crowds into a totally justifiable frenzy. AFTER THE JUMP, see Smith join Russell and Doyle in the intimate bar at the KEX Hostel, performing "Because The Night." Patti's godlike.

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Henry Cavill is the 'Man of Steel' in New Teaser Trailers: VIDEO

Manofsteel

Two teaser trailers for the upcoming Superman film Man of Steel, identical but for the voice-overs, appeared in front of screenings of The Dark Knight over the weekend. The trailers are voiced by Kevin Costner, who plays Clark Kent's earthly father, and Russel Crowe, who plays Jor-El, Superman's biological father.

They're both expressions of advice and wisdom for the young Superman, played by Henry Cavill.

Check them out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Says Costner's Kent: "You're not just anyone. One day, you're going to have to make a choice. You'll have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad, is going to change the world."

Says Crowe's Jor-El: "You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They'll rise behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. In time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."

Cavill

Continue reading "Henry Cavill is the 'Man of Steel' in New Teaser Trailers: VIDEO" »


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