The Beverly Hills Hotel’s Campaign to Bring Jeffrey Katzenberg Back

The exec attended Kirk Douglas' 100th birthday lunch at the embattled hotel, which he previously had boycotted in protest of the owner's politics, marking the first time he'd stepped foot on the property since 2014.
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Jeffrey Katzenberg

Jeffrey Katzenberg made an appearance at Kirk Douglas' 100th birthday lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Dec. 9, marking the first time he's set foot on the property since 2014, when the boycott over the anti-gay politics of its owner, the Sultan of Brunei, caught steam. A source close to Katzenberg says his attendance at the party, where he gave a touching tribute to Douglas, was a one-time thing and that the gay-rights supporter has no plans to return.

The source adds that the hotel has been courting him for two years by extending multiple olive branches for meetings. No major Hollywood events have occurred at the hotel since the Katzenberg-spearheaded, star-studded Motion Picture & Television Fund's Night Before gala moved in 2014.

If Katzenberg were to change course, the source notes, surely other high-profile events and A-listers would follow. But it's not all business for the hotel; some gestures have been personal. Many of the hotel employees, who had grown close to Katzenberg over the years, miss seeing him on a regular basis and made sure to welcome him with open arms at the birthday party.

However, until there's a change in ownership, it's unlikely Katzenberg will be back. A rep for Katzenberg didn't respond to a request for comment.

Writer and activist James Duke Mason recently wrote an op-ed piece for THR about why the boycott still matters.

A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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