The Beverly Hills Hotel, operated by the Dorchester Collection, is losing sizable revenue and star power due to ties to its owner, the sultan of Brunei.
A spokesman for the company says the hotel has experienced a "significant loss of revenue" since headline-making protests began in early May. LGBT organizations, women’s rights groups, and celebrities have publicly encouraged a boycott of the establishment since the sultan of Brunei began phasing in sharia law, which would eventually penalize homosexuality and adultery with death by stoning. The Brunei Investment Agency owns the Dorchester Collection.
According to Variety, only one recognizable face — Eric Close from ABC’s Nashville — was seen dining at the Beverly Hills Hotel this past weekend. However, the actor’s publicist, Jill Fritzo, stated that Close had been traveling and would not have given the hotel his business if he’d known about the situation.
"Some of the regulars are still coming in," an unidentified source told Variety, but the employees are under orders not to disclose the handful of celebrities and other Hollywood players who continue to privately visit the Beverly Hills Hotel and the nearby Hotel Bel-Air, which is also a Dorchester property.
The boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel gained momentum May 5 when the Motion Picture and Television Fund decided to pull its annual pre-Oscar Night Before Party from the venue. Celebrities including Jay Leno (who cochairs the Feminist Majority Foundation with his wife, Mavis), Stephen Fry, and Ellen DeGeneres have spoken out againsy Brunei's laws. Anna Wintour also recently stated that neither she nor other Vogue editors would stay at a Dorchester Collection hotel as a result of the antigay code. The exceptions to the boycott are few but notable — actress Rose McGowan held an event at the Beverly Hills Hotel last month in support of the employees, while also using the occasion to speak out against its owner's actions.
The Human Rights Campaign has urged Americans to avoid patronizing the hotels to show solidarity with those who would suffer under Brunei's laws.
The Dorchester Collection has tried to counter the boycott through social media by claiming that the protest would ultimately hurt its employees. However, the effort has apparently not gained traction.