The glamorous “Night Before” the Oscars fundraiser, held every year for more than a decade at the Beverly Hills Hotel, will be hosted this year—in an act of protest—on the 20th Century Fox lot.
In April, it was revealed that the Sultan of Brunei—who owns the Beverly Hills Hotel along with other properties in his Dorchester Collection—would be implementing a set of Taliban-like laws. Under the Sultan’s penal code, gay men and lesbians would be stoned to death if their sexual orientation were uncovered, and women who become pregnant out of wedlock would be imprisoned.
“Night Before” organizers pulled their event from the hotel in reaction to the Sultan’s penal code. Said Bob Pisano, chairman of the Motion Picture and Television Fund (the organization behind the fundraiser), vice chairman Mark Fleischer and prexy-CEO Bob Beitcher in a joint statement:
Representatives of MPTF met with the leadership of the Dorchester Collection and executives from the Beverly Hills Hotel to convey our deep concern about the recent enactment of laws in Brunei that call for violent punishment, including amputation and death by stoning, against those engaging in same-sex activity and extramarital sexual relations, and those committing adultery. We expressed very clearly that we cannot condone or tolerate these harsh and repressive laws and as a result support a business owned by the Sultan of Brunei or a Brunei sovereign fund associated with the government of Brunei.
The Feminist Majority Foundation (publisher of Ms.) also pulled its annual Global Women’s Rights Awards from the hotel earlier this year when the draconian penal code first came to light. Said FMF president Eleanor Smeal, “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.”