Think twice about where you're going to vacay or party next time you're thinking about a Los Angeles getaway.
Earlier this week, Southeast Asian country Brunei announced that it would enact laws that would punish those who engage in homosexual acts with death by stoning. News of these laws has dusted up old grudges between the LGBTQ+ community and the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, an arm of Brunei's ministry of finance.
The laws are set to go into place on April 3 and are part of a larger process to implement Sharia law in the country. The upcoming laws are part of a process that began in 2014 that includes several phases. The first phase included laws that criminalized pregnancy outside of marriage and failure to pray on Fridays.
Activists boycotted the hotel following the news of the process beginning in 2014, and protested in 2016 when they felt that short memory caused people to forget the nature of the boycott. After the initial 2014 boycott, events like the annual Night Before the Oscar party fled the space and searched for alternate venues.
"With short attention spans, people forget," James Duke Mason, a protest organizer, told the Hollywood Reporter. "I don't blame them. ... there are a lot of other things to worry about. But the issue remains." They held signs outside the hotel that had slogans like #StoptheSultan. In an op-ed for the Hollywood Reporter in 2014, Mason asked, ""Is having your McCarthy Salad really more important than the brutal torture and murder of innocent people in Brunei?"
A Page Six editorial declared the boycott over in 2018 after an Architectural Digest editor posted photos at the hotel on her Instagram. The editorial also pointed out that Laura Dern and ex-NBA star Baron Davis were seen kissing at the hotel.
With news of the second phase of the process coming last night, some have called for a renewed boycott of the Beverly Hills Hilton as well as the Hotel Bel Air, both of which are operated by the Dorchester Collection, a set of luxury hotels owned by Brunei. Queer Eye Fab Five member Bobby Berk also tweeted about Brunei and the Beverly Hills Hotel on Wednesday.
In a statement released Wednesday from Amnesty International, researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard, "Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations.The international community must urgently condemn Brunei's move to put these cruel penalties into practice."
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