Perhaps you have seen in the news that Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno, Stephen Fry, Richard Branson and many other celebrities are boycotting the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles over a controversial new penal code instituted by the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.
The new law, announced last month and being “phased in” starting this month, provides “stoning to death” as the penalty for homosexuality; among other crimes such as adultery, blasphemy and declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim. The previous punishment was a maximum ten-year prison sentence.
The United Nations has condemned Brunei for adopting this new code. A UN Spokesman said, “Under international law, stoning people to death constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited.”
From what I understand, the most egregious of the corporal punishments won’t begin for 12-24 months as “Phase two” and “Phase three.” That is the silver lining, I guess. It gives the world plenty of time to respond to this medieval nonsense.
To wit, The New York Times reports:
In the last week, an escalating boycott of the Dorchester properties decreased the company’s revenue by about $2 million, said Christopher Cowdray, a Dorchester executive in London. Cancellations at the Beverly Hills Hotel accounted for almost all of the dropoff.
The only way our world will change is if we take a stand for something greater than ourselves and stand up to those who think they can impose their religious beliefs on the world.
So with that being said, I would also like to point out to my fellow travelers that the Dorchester Collection of Hotels is owned by the sultan of Brunei through the country’s sovereign wealth fund. The Dorchester Collection includes the 2 hotels in Los Angeles as well as others in Paris, London, Rome, Milan, Geneva and Ascot, England.
Below is the list of hotels to boycott—along with The Beverly Hills and Hotel Bel-Air. Until the sultan decides to join the rest of us in the 21st century, please do not give him your business and pass this along to your friends.
If you would like to read more about this issue, I recommend the following articles: