Hollywood Turns Its Back on Famous Hotel Because of Brunei's Ownership

Tuesday, May 06, 2014
The Beverly Hills Hotel is as famous for its pink walls as it is for all the celebrities who have checked in for a stay. Numerous movies have been filmed there, including "American Gigolo" and "The Way We Were."

But recently, some of Tinseltown's biggest names have turned their backs on the hotel known as the "Pink Palace." The Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air are operated by Dorchester Collection Properties, a group owned by the Brunei Investment Agency -- an arm of the Brunei government ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

The East Asian country recently imposed strict Islamic sharia law, where abortion, adultery and homosexuality are crimes -- and punishment could be death by stoning.

As a result, the Beverly Hills City Council will consider a measure tonight to ask Brunei to divest itself of the hotel.

The situation has drawn attention from celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Sharon Osbourne and Jay Leno.

"I won't be visiting the Hotel Bel-Air or the Beverly Hills Hotel until this is resolved," DeGeneres wrote online.

Osbourne also took to Twitter, pushing for a boycott of the hotels.

Leno joined a protest on Monday, rallying against the sultan's viewpoints.

"It just seems like a human problem. It seems like something all humans should care about," Leno said.

Amid the controversy, event planners are finding new locations for their events. A famous pre-Oscar bash held at the Beverly Hills Hotel for more than a decade reportedly has pulled the plug.

Christopher Cowdray, CEO of Dorchester Collection Properties, said boycotts are misguided.

"The Beverly Hills Hotel has done nothing wrong," Cowdray said. "It has done nothing wrong."

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