Facing a boycott due to the Sultan of Brunei’s ownership, the Beverly Hills Hotel has enlisted a famed public relations strategist to help manage the growing protests.
Mark Fabiani, formerly a special counsel to President Bill Clinton, was hired as a consultant, a hotel spokesperson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. In an email to THR, the consultant stated that his “individual firm, Mark Fabiani LLC, has been retained for the last several days.”
Fabiani has advised the San Diego Chargers since 2002 and consulted for Lance Armstrong in 2010 during his doping scandal.
The New York Times first reported that Fabiani had been hired.
Fabiani operates a strategic communications firm, Fabiani & Lehane, with business partner Chris Lehane.
The duo authored a book along with writer-director Bill Guttentag entitled Masters of Disaster: The Ten Commandments of Damage Control, which was named after a description of the team that purportedly originated in Newsweek magazine.
The Beverly Hills Hotel is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, which is controlled by the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. On May 1, a new Sharia law penal code in the Southeast Asian nation was instituted that includes a policy that levies harsh penalties — including plans for death by stoning — for gays and adulterers.
The industry response to the newly installed code has been swift. The Motion Picture Television Fund‘s Night Before Oscars Party was pulled from the Beverly Hills Hotel, as well as The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Women In Entertainment breakfast.
Ellen DeGeneres, Richard Branson, Sharon Osbourne and Jay Leno have been outspoken in promoting the boycott.