Monday, February 9, 2015
John Legend Joins Bev. Hills Hotel Boycott Over LGBT Rights
Singer John Legend is the latest celebrity to join a boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel after the hotel's owner, Brunei leader Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, instituted a new penal code that includes capital punishment for same-sex acts in his home country.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Grammy-winning star backed out of a planned appearance at a Feb. 5 celebration, which was to be held in his honor by L.A. Confidential magazine. Legend, whose smash single, "All of Me," is nominated for a Grammy, graces the cover of the magazine's December/January issue.
In a statement delivered to the Hollywood Reporter, spokeswoman Amanda Silverman pointed to Brunei's "horrific anti-women and anti-LGBT" policies when explaining Legend's decision to drop out of the celebration.
"These policies, which among other things could permit women and LGBT Bruneians to be stoned to death, are heinous and certainly don't represent John's values or the spirit of the event," the statement read. "John does not, in any way, wish to further enrich the Sultan while he continues to enforce these brutal laws."
Meanwhile, Alison Miller, L.A. Confidential's publisher, argued that the magazine "is an avid supporter of equal rights for all people," and that the publication's decision to throw the party in the Beverly Hills Hotel's Crystal Ballroom "in no way suggests that we support any anti-human rights policies."
The Beverly Hills Hotel is part of the Dorchester Collection, a Brunei-owned luxury hotel chain whose U.S. properties also include the Hotel Bel-Air.
Legend now joins a growing list of stars and media personalities who have publicly expressed their distaste for the hotel chain in the wake of Brunei's penal code, which also names rape, adultery, extramarital sexual relations and declaring oneself a prophet in its capital punishment regulations.
Ellen DeGeneres, Anna Wintour, Stephen Fry and Jay Leno are just a few of the other bold-faced names who have vowed not to visit the Beverly Hills Hotel or other hotels in the Dorchester Collection amid the controversy.
Last year, a Dorchester spokesperson released a statement to WWD saying that officials at the individual hotels had "no involvement in this religious and political issue.”
“We continue to abide by the laws of the countries we operate in and do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind," the spokesperson added, according to the report. "The laws that exist in other countries outside of where Dorchester Collection operates do not affect the policies that govern how we run our hotels."