Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, called on Los Angeles Confidential to move its upcoming event at the Beverly Hills Hotel to a different venue. The hotel is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who announced a series of draconian laws last spring that could lead to the stoning of women and LGBT people in Brunei later this year.
Scheduled for Thursday, February 5, the pre-Grammy party was intended to honor John Legend, who has since declared that he’s refusing to participate in the event if it remains at that location.
“The simple truth is that profits from these hotels support a regime that could start stoning women and LGBT people as soon as this year," said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global. "Moving this event would send a clear message to the Sultan of Brunei, and would show that the leadership of L.A. Confidential stands in support of the fundamental human rights of women and LGBT people."
Last April Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah ––who is the absolute ruler of Brunei and is one of the world’s wealthiest people––announced that Brunei’s penal codes would be updated with new draconian measures, which would mostly impact women and the LGBT community. These include such horrific punishments as amputation, flogging, and worse for a variety of so-called “offenses.” Beginning as soon as the end of this year, members of the LGBT community could be stoned to death for engaging in relations with one another.
At the time, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned Brunei’s penal code reforms, saying it was "deeply concerned" and that this could “encourage further violence and discrimination against women and also against people on the basis of sexual orientation.” The Human Rights Campaign, other civil rights organizations, as well as prominent citizens and leaders in business, government, and philanthropy have widely condemned these draconian laws, and have urged all citizens to stay away from the Sultan’s hotels.
LGBT citizens in many countries around the world remain persistent targets of harassment, arrest, and violence. Though it has long been the case that LGBT Bruneians and LGBT travelers to Brunei are considered criminals for simply being who they are, this decision means that Brunei will soon become the tenth nation that includes the death penalty as an option for “punishing” LGBT people.
Below is an excerpt from the letter Director of HRC Global Ty Cobb sent to the leadership of the magazine earlier today, urging them to relocate their event. The full text of the letter is available here.
“There are a number of hotels and venues in the Los Angeles area. Over the past year, we have encouraged members of the LGBT community and our allies to consider those options instead of the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air––which are part of the Sultan’s Dorchester Collection.
We feel strongly that those who support the rights of women and the LGBT community should take their business elsewhere. I write to ask that you reconsider your decision to host an event at the Beverly Hills Hotel, or any hotel owned by the Sultan of Brunei, and join other prominent organizations who have found alternative venues.”
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