A prestigious journalism awards event is the latest to pull out of the Beverly Hills Hotel in protest of its owner’s human rights violations, organizers of the event told TheWrap on Tuesday.
The International Women’s Media Foundation, which honors women journalists, is moving its 25th annual Courage in Journalism Awards from its traditional location. The move adds the group’s voice to the growing chorus of disapproval for the anti-women and anti-gay laws imposed by the hotel owner Sultan of Brunei on his home country.
“We, the IWMF, can no longer hold an event at a venue whose owner stands for the violation of the very human rights we fight for,” Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of the the IWMF, said in a statement. “As a consequence to the introduction of Sharia law in Brunei, we have decided to cancel our contract with the Beverly Hills Hotel and move this year’s Courage Awards to another location.”
Muslim citizens of the Southeast Asia country, which neighbors Malaysia, can now be fined or jailed for offenses including not performing Friday prayers, becoming pregnant out of wedlock, propagating other religions and indecent behavior. Phases two and three of the law will subject adulterers and gay people to stoning, flogging and amputation
Hassanal Bolkiah, the leader of Brunei, controls the Brunei Investment Agency, which owns the Dorchester Collection, the company that runs the Beverly Hills Hotel, as well as the Hotel Bel-Air. The hotel in Beverly Hills, long a favorite haunt for Hollywood’s elite, has faced protests in recent weeks, including a rally on Monday in which former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno compared the Sultan to embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
The Motion Picture & Television Fund announced on Monday that it has decided to move its annual pre-Oscar charity bash, the Night Before the Oscars, from its longtime location at the hotel. The Feminist Majority Foundation moved Monday night’s Global Women’s Rights Awards from the Beverly Hills Hotel to the Hammer Museum in Westwood, then organized the protest at which Leno spoke.
The Beverly Hills City Council is meeting on Tuesday to discuss a resolution condemning Brunei’s new laws, and encourage “the government of Brunei to divest itself of the Beverly Hills Hotel.”