2:15pm PT by Chris Gardner
Jeffrey Katzenberg Returns to Beverly Hills Hotel for First Time Since Boycott
Jeffrey Katzenberg is returning to the Beverly Hills Hotel today, but those close to the mogul insist that he's not forgotten about the boycott.
Katzenberg — a supporter of Hollywood's ongoing boycott of the luxury hotel and the controversial politics of its owner, the Sultan of Brunei — is making a one-time exception and attending the birthday lunch of longtime mentor and close friend, Kirk Douglas.
Douglas turns 100 today and is celebrating with close friends and family members at a private event. Katzenberg will be on hand, not only to toast Douglas but to deliver a personal tribute to mark the milestone and their friendship.
Katzenberg and Douglas' relationship dates back 30-plus years, and the two are among the town's most notable philanthropists. Just last year, Douglas celebrated his 99th birthday with a $15 million gift to the Motion Picture & Television Fund. (Katzenberg serves as chairman on the board of governors of the MPTF Foundation.) When Katzenberg was honored at amfAR's seventh annual Inspiration Gala in October, he told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet that one of the most important lessons he's learned in his life came from Douglas. The lesson: "You haven't learned how to live until you learn how to give," said Katzenberg.
Though Katzenberg could not be reached for comment Friday, a source close to him says his appearance at the hotel should not be taken as a sign that Katzenberg thinks the boycott is over. "This is about Jeffrey being there for Kirk," the source adds.
The boycott caught steam in 2014 after reports surfaced that the Sultan of Brunei implemented barbaric Sharia law in the country, which calls for death by stoning of gays, lesbians and adulterers. The Human Rights Campaign has spoken out in favor of the boycott over the past two years, and writer and activist James Duke Mason recently wrote an op-ed piece for THR about why the boycott still matters.