Feminist Majority Pulls Out of Beverly Hills Hotel Event to Protest Sultan’s ‘Taliban-Like’ Penal Code

The Feminist Majority Foundation is moving its annual awards event from the Beverly Hills Hotel because the hotel’s owner, the Sultan of Brunei, has imposed a “Taliban-like” penal code on the country set to start to go into effect on Thursday.

Instead of holding its Global Women’s Rights Awards at the hotel, the org is planning a protest on May 5 across the street on Sunset Boulevard.

The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, announced in a royal decree on Wednesday that the country would enforce “sharia law phase one,” with plans to eventually introduce punishments like death by stoning for sodomy and adultery. The plans have drawn condemnation from the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, and the Feminist Majority said that the new penalties would eventually mean punishments of stoning to death for gay men and lesbian women and public flogging for women who have abortions.

“We cannot hold a human rights and women’s rights event at a hotel whose owner would institute a penal code that fundamentally violates women’s rights and human rights,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Smeal is scheduled to speak at the rally along with Mavis Leno, member of the org’s board of directors; Vince Wong of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and Dolores Huerta, co-founder of United Farm Workers.

The Feminist Majority event instead will be held at the Hammer Museum on Monday night.

Earlier this month, the Gill Action Fund announced that it was dropping out of a planned conference at the hotel because of the Sultan’s policies.

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