New Beverly Hills Hotel Protest Planned Over GOP Congressman's Fundraiser
A Republican congressman's planned fundraiser at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Friday is being targeted by an activist group as part of the ongoing boycott against the hotel's ownership by the Sultan of Brunei.
Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky is set for events at the Polo Lounge and poolside at the luxury Dorchester Collection property from Aug. 8 to 10, according to Open Secrets, a project from the Center for Responsive Politics. The Washington Post earlier reported Whitfield's fundraiser.
On Thursday, Local 11, an L.A.-based chapter of labor union Unite Here, announced that it is organizing the Aug. 8 boycott, with "dozens" of activists and members to attend. A Beverly Hills Hotel public relations rep declined to comment on the protest.
The Beverly Hills Hotel has been subject to protests, canceled events and a boycott by numerous Hollywood industry insiders since mid-April, after the Gill Action Fund, an activist organization, relocated its planned event due to the Sultan of Brunei's penal code.
The Southeast Asian nation of Brunei is led by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who controls the Dorchester Collection of hotels through his Brunei Investment Agency. The Sharia law penal code enacted on May 1 includes harsh penalties against gays and adulterers.
The fundraiser by a U.S. congressman at the Beverly Hills Hotel sparked a response from the Human Rights Campaign, which has been emphatic in encouraging organizations to relocate their events from the Dorchester Collection location.
"The simple truth is that profits from this hotel belong to a regime that could start stoning women and LGBT people as soon as next year," said HRC's Fred Sainz, vp communication and marketing, in a Thursday press release. "It's deeply disappointing that Congressman Whitfield sided with the Sultan and against the fundamental human rights of women and LGBT people in Brunei. He’s already handed over tens of thousands of dollars to the Sultan through his hotel, and that stream of cash needs to stop."
L.A's Hotel Bel-Air, also a part of the Dorchester Collection, is also being targeted as part of an ongoing boycott by Local 11.