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As the fashion community, including designers Brian Atwood and Peter Som, mobilizes against the Dorchester Collection to protest the Sultan of Brunei’s ownership, the hotel management chain has responded with a statement reiterating its commitment to diversity.
“We are aware that many variations of Sharia law are practiced in many countries throughout the world, and these countries have diverse business interests, including fashion, hospitality and travel groups, media, entertainment, banking and many other sectors,” stated a spokesperson for the Dorchester Collection to WWD. “We are sensitive to the fact that any such potential withdrawal of business directly impacts our employees, who represent the full diversity of society. Our loyal and dedicated employees have no involvement in this religious and political issue.”
An LGBT group kickstarted a round of protests against The Beverly Hills Hotel, a Dorchester Collection hotel, last week. Other hotels in the group include The Hotel Bel-Air in L.A. and 45 Park Lane in London.
The protests were sparked by a proposed law in the Southeast Asian nation of Brunei that called for “stoning to death” Muslims committing sexual crimes. The leader of the country, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, also owns the Dorchester Collection through the Brunei Investment Agency.
The Beverly Hills Hotel issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on April 19, when asked about the news that The Gill Action Fund, a LGBT advocacy group, canceled their plans to host a conference after hearing about Bolkiah’s new penal code.
“[W]e do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind,” read the statement. “We are also against any law in any other country around the world that punishes people for their religious beliefs, ethnicity, race or sexual orientation. The laws and policies that govern how we run our hotel have nothing to do with the laws that exist in any other country outside of the United States. We do not tolerate any form of discrimination and strongly value people and cultural diversity amongst our guests and employees.”
According to the BBC, assistant director of the Islamic Legal Unit Jauyah Zaini said the enactment of the penal code was delayed “due to unavoidable circumstances.” No new date was announced, but an official told the country’s local media that it would start “in the very near future.”
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