L.A. Confidential magazine is staging its pre-Grammy party at the Beverly Hills Hotel tonight despite objections from LGBT rights advocates.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT rights organization, issued a press release today calling on all invitees to boycott the event because of the hotel owner’s support of a law that could lead to the stoning of women and LGBT people in Brunei. The hotel, part of the Dorchester Collection, is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, which is controlled by the government of Brunei. Brunei’s absolute ruler, Sultan Hassan al Bolkiah, has said he will implement laws based on Islamic Shariah law that call for flogging of women who have abortions and the death by stoning of those who engage in gay or lesbian sex. That has sparked a campaign to boycott hotels that are part of the Dorchester Collection, which Bolkiah owns. The Hotel Bel Air in Beverly Hills also is part of the Dorchester Collection.
In its press release HRC noted that John Legend, the singer-songwriter who is on the cover of the current issue of L.A. Confidential and was to have been the main honoree at the event, has announced that he will boycott it.
“The fact is John Legend courageously stood in support of the fundamental human rights of women and LGBT people, and LA Confidential has sided with the Sultan of Brunei,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “While L.A. Confidential chose convenience over courage, who will stand with them? And now that John Legend isn’t going, is the new honoree the Sultan of Brunei? We urge all potential guests to follow Mr. Legend’s leadership and avoid lining the Sultan’s pockets and sending profits back to his regime.”
HRC said that L.A. Confidential publisher Alison Miller responded to its request that the magazine move the event to another hotel by saying it supports human rights and “believe(s) that each individual, company and organization must make their own decision as to how they communicate their positions on political, social and civil rights.”
Katherine Nicholls, the CEO of the magazine’s parent company, Niche Media Holdings, also issued a statement, claiming that “to boycott all companies and hotels with affiliations and ownership in nations that do not share our beliefs would cause serious financial harm and damage to the Los Angeles community, and the American economy.”
A number of groups have cancelled planned events at the Beverly Hills Hotel because of Bolkiah’s plans to implement the Shariah laws. Also celebrities such as Sharon Osbourne an Ellen DeGeneres have said they are boycotting the hotel. The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) last year moved its Global Women’s Rights Awards event from the Beverly Hills Hotel and will organize a demonstration across from the hotel.