The opulent hotel is part of the Dorchester Collection, a luxury chain owned by the Sultan of Brunei. This week, the tiny, oil-rich southeast Asian country set off a storm of celebrity protests and boycotts by introducing Islamic laws that include death by stoning for homosexuals and adulterers.
Over the past several days, 20 events have been canceled at the Beverly Hills property--a loss of about $2 million in revenue for the hotel, according to Dorchester. Local politicians and celebrities are also boycotting the nearby Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles, the hotel's more subdued sister property.
Big names like Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres are urging boycotts, and the Beverly Hills mayor and council are calling for Dorchester to sell the famed hotel.
Dorchester, which runs 10 hotels world-wide, is looking to expand globally and has said it is seeking to acquire a luxury property in New York. Hotel analysts say the publicity surrounding protests against the company could complicate efforts to operate a Manhattan hotel, where there is also opposition to the new law.
The participation of Hollywood's A-list in the boycott has been painful because the hotel has long been a see-and-be-seen spot to eat, sleep and fundraise. The hotel's Polo Lounge restaurant is one of this city's prime power-lunch spots. One event earlier this year attracted stars including Will Smith and Sandra Bullock.
"When we heard what was going on in Brunei, we said that doesn't fit with our philosophy," said Elaine Leader, head of a teen support organization that abruptly moved a fundraising event for 500 people honoring Sony Pictures Co-Chairman Amy Pascal from the Beverly Hills Hotel to the Sony Pictures lot this week.
British billionaire Richard Branson took to Twitter over the weekend to declare that no Virgin employee or Branson family member will stay at Dorchester hotel "until the Sultan abides by basic human rights."
Coming events like a "Women in Entertainment" breakfast thrown by the Hollywood Reporter in December, and a "Night Before the Oscars" fundraiser held by the Motion Picture & Television Fund, have been moved from the hotel.http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-2014...14626.html
"when life gives you lemons..throw them at someone"...Grumpy Cat