City Council Passes Resolution Urging Brunei to Sell Beverly Hills Hotel

Beverly Hills Hotel protest Sultan of
David McNew/Getty Images

The Beverly Hills City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution condemning Brunei for implementation of Sharia laws, but stopped short of issuing a city-sanctioned boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel.

The city’s resolution, passed in a 5-0 vote, also calls for Brunei to divest ownership of the iconic property if it does not drop plans for the draconian laws, which include punishment like stoning to death for gay and lesbian relationships. It also calls on the country to drop investments of any other properties it owns in Beverly Hills.

Mayor Lili Bosse, who said she made a “personal decision” not to return to the hotel, called the planned laws in Brunei “shocking and inhumane,” and said they “must be met with a strong statement of support for the human rights of the people of Brunei.” She said that the decision to boycott should be a “personal choice.”

“We are standing for human rights, we are standing for dignity and we are standing for those who don’t have a voice,” said Bosse, who is the daughter of Holocaust survivors.

The hotel is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, controlled by the government and the sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.

The City Council meeting was marked by strong emotions.

Robert Tanenbaum, the trial attorney and novelist, called on a stronger resolution that declared a boycott, calling the millions that the city collects in bed taxes and other taxes “blood money.”

“You cannot bifurcate the asset that gives money back to Brunei, that continues its horrendous and inhumane policies,” he said.

Jimmy Delshad, former mayor of the city, called on a stronger statement, saying that it is “important to make bigger noise than just that.”

“I think the Beverly Hills Hotel should not be a centennial sponsor for Beverly Hills,” he said, calling for a citywide boycott.

Robert S. Anderson, whose great-grandmother opened the hotel in 1912 and who is its official historian, said that if the council was singling out the property, they should address other properties with ownership by countries with repressive laws. He also said that the council’s action could be perceived “that it is a war on Muslims that you are declaring here tonight.”

“The Beverly Hills Hotel does not send any money back to Brunei,” he said. “It is reinvested in the community, in the hotel.”

He said that the hotel has already seen a drop off of about $1.5 million in bookings.

A number of employees spoke out in support of the hotel, warning that the boycott was misdirected.

“I have been told by someone that comes on a regular basis that we are a collateral damage,” said one employee, who said she already has noticed a slowdown in business.

The CEO of the Dorchester Collection, Christopher Cowdray, said that this was a “global issue. It is not just about the sultan of Brunei. These laws exist in other parts of the world.” But he said that he didn’t see the council take action “refuting laws in those countries.”

Although he warned of the message that a boycott would send, particularly for tourism to the Los Angeles area, he said that he would make sure that employees were protected if business dropped.

 

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  1. Voice says:

    Why are oil producing countries enjoying a luxury lifestyle while we are trying to cope day to day?? Reason…..we are buying their oil with our hard earned cash!! While we get weaker they get stronger….it’s like we are supporting their rich lifestyle.Dont blame them blame ourselves!! Sml things that can help cut down, use public transport avoid using the car whenever one can,switch off main switches within the house when appliances are not in use,walking is the best form of exercise don’t use the car. The more you use the more money “they ” get.You will be happy how much money u can save. Just got an idea…..if the Hotels mentioned above could be bought back cheap…..let the workers all chip in and buy the hotel.So they own the hotel the they work in!! That way extra love will go into taking care of the hotel. They will have their normal salaries…hmm no pay increase until the hotel they own start making huge profits. Buy back the hotel for $1million only that way there is a chance for the workers to chip in and become part owners. Just a suggestion,it might work.

  2. Mike says:

    Help me understand the boycott against the BHH. Does’t the sultan get his money from oil? don’t all Middle East countries have sharia law or similar laws? Doesn’t Mr Leno and Mr Branson fuel up their vehicles,jets ect with fuel dependent on foreign oil from the Middle East? Don’t all the boycott supporters fuel up their cars from gas dependent on foreign oil? Why is this the first time you folks have protested sharia law? Why are you boycotting a Hotel rather then the real lively hood (Oil,Oil,Oil) of the sharia law countries? Do you protesters want to contribute to California’s unemployement rate for your cause?

    • Voice says:

      Our Earth is in bad shape I do think everyone of us should do our bit…..use less petrol,use less electricity,etc etc that will help Save Our Earth. If each of us tried to cut down abit(baby steps) we won’t have to be dependent on imported fuel. If we cut down importing oil, we will also help stop pollution.Do we want to leave to our children a wasted Earth with air sooo polluted that one has to buy artificial oxygen.? Pls pls pls do ur part. Do what we can do help protect our Earth. Once we stop being so dependent on oil we will have a fresher greener earth and stop giving away our hard earn cash to countries that export oil to us.

  3. Dez says:

    Can’t believe the rate increases at the Wilshire. Much too high.

  4. JMac says:

    I wanna see the big stars speak out on this issue. Like Emma Stone, who stays there ALL the time even just weeks ago, and has a huge movie that just made $400 million. Where does she stand on this?

    • Jes says:

      So all the staff that works in the kitchen and housekeeping that do nothing but treat you like a king or queen, you’re okay with them losing their jobs from something beyond their control?

  5. themediacoach says:

    If, as Robert S Anderson states, no income from the Beverly Hills Hotel leaves the US, wouldn’t that diminish the protesters’ case somewhat?

    Also, Saudi Arabia already has the death penalty for homosexual behaviour (and gay people have been executed there), and The Four Seasons and Fairmont chains are Saudi-owned. There’s Saudi investment in Twitter and Fox News too. Things may not be as simple as they appear. Will the Beverly Hills City Council also be advocating boycotts of other hotels, as well as Twitter and News Corp?

    Surely the appropriate channel is government to government, where economic pressure can have real impact, as it has done with Iran. Boycotting one or two luxury hotels makes for great headlines, but it will have no impact on the laws of another country, and will hurt only the hotel staff who will lose their livelihoods because of an issue they can do nothing about.

  6. David says:

    So the argument for doing nothing is that it is immoral to stand against evil unless you are able to defeat all evil, everywhere in the world. Robert S. Anderson dishonors his family name.

  7. The Beverly Hills Hotel employees were bussed in like peasants and used as sympathy props for the Sultan’s propaganda campaign. No one wants the employees of the hotel to lose their jobs nor are they likely to. But which has the most meaning to the rest of the world, the Beverly Hills Hotel jobs or speaking out against the flogging & stoning to death of innocent people or cutting off the hands of anyone who consumes alcohol by a mad man? There is no contest. The Sultan is a capricious little hypocrite who has a bevy of young often underage girls brought to his luxury suites in his hotels yet professes to abide by Sharia law & will have anyone who doesn’t killed. And his madness has already spread to the U.S. where Muslim extremists think they are exempt from American laws & can maim & kill anyone they choose based on Sharia law. As Jay Leno & others have said, this is not 1814, this is 1914 & this mad man must be stopped in his tracks here & now.

  8. Chicago860 says:

    Aha. Suddenly, when it hits you in the wallet, you are concerned about sharia law. Beverly Hills, you must be so proud.

  9. Will Campbell says:

    Why would the city stop short of issuing a city-wide sanction of the hotel? The owners are maniacs. I’ve stayed there many times when I fly to LA from NYC and will never stay there again, so long as the current owners retain possession of the property.

    • Luke says:

      Yeah Michael: Where is the justice in shooting someone for walking into your garage, having a man removed as CEO because he gave $1,000 bucks for a one-man, one-woman marriage group 8 YEARS AGO, and having all One-man, one woman group redefined as “Hate Groups?” Where the justice in that?

    • Az says:

      Dont you know the burden of proof is so heavy? do you know conviction can only be done when its 100% SURE. not 98% sure… do you know stealing for food because of hunger can be exempted and Govt can be held accountable.. Do research on Islam and dont be so naive and understand shariah before you condemn.

    • michael says:

      Sharia Law is barbaric. Cutting off limbs for stealing? Death for blasphemy? Where is the justice in that?

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