#StopTheSultan: Live-Blogging the Rally Today in Beverly Hills!

UPDATE: The rally is over, but the protest against the Sultan of Brunei’s draconian new penal code continues! Tweet with the hashtag #StopTheSultan and sign the petition here.

TODAY!! At noon in Beverly Hills, in the park at the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Beverly Drive! Come protest against the Sultan of Brunei and condemn him for imposing a Taliban-like penal code that will include stoning to death gay men and lesbians and public flogging of women who have abortions!

Speakers will include Jay and Mavis Leno, Eleanor Smeal, actor Frances Fisher, Dolores Huerta, Lorri L. Jean and more!!

Stay tuned as we live-blog the event, beginning at noon.

11 a.m. : Setting up for the rally.

noon: Rally is about to begin, and Eleanor Smeal is in the park!








Dolores Huerta in the house and before the media!










12:15 Kathy Spillar speaking. “These laws are like the Taliban’s laws.” People are honking as they drive by. Jay Leno in the house!

“The Sultan of Brunei is an anti-gay, anti-woman  union-busting dictator, and we have to stop him. He has shown utter disregard for anyone he deems to be different.”—Leigh Shelton, spokesperson for Unite Here and #StopThe Sultan protester

12:17 Jay Leno speaking. “What year is this? 1814?” Mavis Leno to his left, Ellie Smeal in orange.








12:25 Lorri Jean, CEO of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Services Center: We don’t have to go to Brunei to find examples of bigotry against gays and lesbians. “It’s not OK in Brunei, it’s not OK in Beverly Hills, it’s not OK in Pasadena, it’s not OK in Los Angeles. It’s bigotry masquerading as religious freedom.” She announced that tomorrow night the Beverly Hills city council is voting on a resolution to decry the Brunei laws.

12:28  Vince Wong, vice chair of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: “Your majesty, stop the killing, stop the violence, it ends here.”

12:29  Betsy Butler, California Women’s Law Center: “Los Angeles is not going to stand for this.”

12:30 Ada Briceno, scretary-treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 11: “The Sultan’s actions are despicable. The Sultan is anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-union rights.” She speaks of the hardships hotel workers face because of union busting. (The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of the Sultan’s Dorchester Collection of upscale hotels.)

“We cannot stay silent.” — Kathy Spillar, executive editor of Ms.


12:35  Andrea Meyer, president, Equality California: Beverly Hills and Bel Air Hotels (both owned by the Sultan) are places where the gay community has hosted many events–and now they’re in the pocket of people who sponsor state-sanctioned murder.

12:39  Actor Frances Fisher: Leads crowd in cheer–“Brunei out of TPP!!” (The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (“TPP”) is a free-trade agreement currently being negotiated by nine countries: The United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.)

12:44 Kathy Spillar thanks everyone for coming, takes questions from press.

The last word for the Sultan today:



The late Michele Kort—a dedicated feminist—was the senior editor of Ms. magazine for 13 years. She died June 26, 2015, after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She worked for decades in field of journalism, covering sports, music, culture, art and feminist issues for publications like LA Weekly, The Advocate, Shape, Redbook, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Songwriter, InStyle, Living Fit, Fit Pregnancy, Vegetarian Times, Fitness, UCLA Magazine, Women's Sports and Fitness and more. She is the author of four books, including a biography of singer/songwriter Laura Nyro, Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro. Rest in power, Michele.