The Beverly Hills City Council has passed a resolution criticizing Brunei for implementing Sharia law, the latest in a string of protests that includes a boycott of one of Brunei's most prestigious U.S. properties, the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Last week Brunei became the first East Asian nation to adopt a Sharia penal code, something that has drawn criticism from the U.S. government. The new legal code was reportedly introduced by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and calls for death by stoning for homosexuals and adulterers.
"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 execution by stoning, flogging and severing of limbs," the city council's resolution states. "The City of Beverly Hills urges the government of Brunei to divest itself of the Beverly Hills Hotel and any other properties it may own in Beverly Hills."
TV personalities Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno plus British entrepreneur Richard Branson have been the most prominent figures to protest the ownership of the hotel, a favored locale for Hollywood, California, elites since it opened more than a century ago, and against other hotels owned by Brunei's government.
Lili Bosse, mayor of Beverly Hills, reportedly said that she made a “personal decision” not to return to the hotel and called the planned laws in Brunei “shocking and inhumane.” She also added that the laws “must be met with a strong statement of support for the human rights of the people of Brunei.”
Bolkiah reportedly praised his country’s new law as a “great achievement” last week, saying, “The decision to implement the (Shariah penal code) is not for fun but is to obey Allah's command as written in the Quran."
The Motion Picture & Television Fund reportedly said that it would no longer hold its annual "Night Before the Oscars" party at the hotel as it has for many years.
"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 fund's directors reportedly said in a statement.
Others boycotting the Sultan's hotels include Richard Branson's Virgin Group, the Hollywood Reporter, which holds a starry media breakfast at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and the Feminist Majority Foundation, which moved its annual Global Women's Rights Awards on Monday from the Beverly Hills Hotel to the nearby Hammer Museum. More groups joined the boycott Tuesday, including the International Women's Media Foundation, which hosted its October ceremony for the Courage in Journalism Awards from the hotel.
Music mogul Clive Davis moved out of the Beverly Hills Hotel over the weekend as a result of the Sultan’s actions, a source told FOX411, but his representative reportedly declined to make any comment.
The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of 10 luxury hotels owned by the Dorchester Collection, which is controlled by the Brunei Investment Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Finance of Brunei. Amid protests against the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Dorchester Collection CEO said that the hotel was being wrongly targeted.
"There are other hotel companies in this city that are owned by Saudi Arabia ... you know, your shirt probably comes from a country which has human rights issues," Christopher Cowdray said, according to Reuters. "So to single out the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Dorchester Collection, and in particular our employees, I feel is very unjust."
Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights advocacy group, called on the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air, both owned by Dorchester Collection, to stop promoting special services for same-sex weddings, now legal in California, at the hotels, owned by the Sultan of Brunei and his Brunei Investment Agency.
"The Sultan is offering free strawberries to LGBT couples in L.A. and death by stoning to those in Brunei," Chad Griffin, the president of the group, said in a statement. "This is the height of hypocrisy, and we must ensure that profits from LGBT weddings in the U.S. stop going to a regime that could soon start executing its LGBT citizens."