UNITE HERE Local 11 and the Courage Campaign plan to stage a demonstration across the street from the hotel on Friday evening, just as donors are scheduled to be gathered at the Polo Lounge for an opening reception, according to a copy of the invite obtained by the Sunlight Foundation. Also planned for Saturday is a poolside event, with a cabana reserved.
It’s unclear whether Whitfield and his fundraisers were aware of the boycott, which started on April 17 to protest the sultan of Brunei’s implementation of Sharia law in his country, with harsh punishments including stoning for adultery and homosexual acts. Brunei’s government-controlled investment group owns the hotel, the Hotel Bel Air and other properties.
Although the boycott has faded from the headlines, many Hollywood organizations and figures continue to shun the property, even though stars like Russell Crowe and personalities like Kim Kardashian have questioned its effectiveness and impact on its employees.
Fred Sainz, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, which also supports the boycott, said in a statement, “It’s deeply disappointing that Congressman Whitfield sided with the Sultan and against the fundamental human rights of women and LGBT people in Brunei. He’s already handed over tens of thousands of dollars to the Sultan through his hotel, and that stream of cash needs to stop.”