NEWSFLASH: Beverly Hills Condemns Sultan of Brunei; More Groups Boycott Hotels

3594383805_0aa8dcac57_zInternational outrage surged this week over the Sultan of Brunei’s new Taliban-like laws, which will see gay men and lesbians stoned to death and women who have abortions publicly flogged.

The Beverly Hills City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday condemning the laws and urging Brunei to divest its ownership in the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel.

Reads the resolution,

The City of Beverly Hills strongly condemns the government of Brunei as well as other governments which engage in similar policies for adopting laws that impose extreme and inhumane penalties including flogging, severing of limbs and execution by stoning.

The City of Beverly Hills didn’t go so far as to recommend a citywide boycott of the hotel, but Mayor Lili Bosse did say she made a “personal decision” not to return until the situation in Brunei is resolved.

“We are standing for human rights, we are standing for dignity and we are standing for those who don’t have a voice,” she said.

In addition to the Feminist Majority Foundation, which pulled its annual Global Women’s Rights Awards late last month and staged a rally Monday across the street from the hotel, other groups have canceled their events at the Beverly Hills Hotel to the tune of $1.5 million in booking losses.  The Hollywood Reporter canceled its Women in Entertainment breakfast, the Motion Picture & Television Fund pulled its annual Night Before the Oscars charity event and the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs moved its Tuesday night Impact Awards to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

The first phase of the new penal code went into effect May 1—it involves fines and prison time for those who miss Friday prayers and “disrespect the month of Ramadan,” according to The Brunei Times, a national newspaper—and subsequent phases will be rolled out over the next couple of years and include corporal punishment and the death penalty.

The Feminist Majority Foundation launched a petition drive urging the UN to condemn the laws and the Sultan of Brunei to rescind them. To date, activists have delivered nearly 10,000 letters to the Sultan, the UN and others through the campaign—you can click here to add your name.

Photo of the Sultan of Brunei courtesy of Flickr user Ron Knox 2001, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0


Stephanie hails from Toronto, Canada. She is a Ms. writer, a master of journalism candidate and a hip hop dancer/instructor/choreographer. She got her start in feminist journalism at the age of 16 when she was a member of the first editorial collective at Shameless magazine—and she has never looked back.