Bev Hills Hotel Lawsuits: Antigay Sultan Used Worker as 'Slave,' Workers Were Homophobic


By Neal Broverman

The iconic hotel is having a very bad year.

In the midst of a successful boycott that had drained it of business, the Beverly Hills Hotel — owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who greenlit the stoning of gays in his country — is also fighting two explosive lawsuits.

One was filed on Monday by an employee named Paul Leloup, who claims that he was turned into a "glorified slave" by the sultan when the leader visited the hotel in 2012 and 2013. Leloup claims he was forced to comply with the numerous needs of the sultan and his 100-person entourage. For two weeks he woke early to prepare food and drinks for the sultan's badminton match at the University of California, Los Angeles; after cleaning up, he headed to the hotel and attend to the entourage until midnight. Leloup said he didn't have time to return home between his shifts and was forced to sleep in his car. The employee is suing the hotel for $60,000 in unpaid wages and penalties.

Meanwhile, three one-time employees of the hotel are in the midst of a trial that accuses former general manager Alberto del Hoyo of sexual battery and discrimination. Sommelier Nino O'Brien claims he was subjected to racist remarks and that another employee, Michah Paloff, constantly insinuated he was gay.

"O'Brien said he is heterosexual, but Paloff thought he looked feminine and often made inappropriate remarks, including suggesting that a gay patron take O'Brien home with him," Beverly Hills Patch reports. "One day when a gay regular customer who often spent large sums of money at the restaurant arrived, Paloff told O'Brien, 'Oh, your lover is here,' the plaintiff testified."