BUSINESS

Russell Crowe Defends Brunei-Owned Hotel Chain While Stressing Support For Gay Rights

05/27/2014 12:14 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016
Marc Piasecki via Getty Images

Russell Crowe sparked controversy after he argued against a boycott of the Dorchester Collection, a Brunei-owned luxury hotel chain whose U.S. properties include the Hotel Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel.

That chain, of course, is owned by Hassanal Bolkiah, who happens to be the sultan of Brunei, a small Asian country which recently adopted strict Islamic penal laws which include capital punishment for same-sex acts.

Crowe took to Twitter to pledge his support to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, but nonetheless defended his decision to oppose a Dorchester Collection boycott.

The 50-year-old "A Beautiful Mind" and "Les Misérables" star, however, did suggest an alternative:

Crowe's views are in sharp contrast to those of Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno, who have vowed not to visit a Dorchester Collection property until Brunei amends its anti-LGBT legislation.

Vogue Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour has followed suit, saying she will not be staying at Paris's Le Meurice (a Dorchester property) when she is in town for Paris Fashion Week.

"While I am sensitive to the potential impact that this issue may have on the wonderful staff at Le Meurice, I cannot in all good conscience stay there, nor can Vogue’s editors," Wintour told The New York Times.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the hotel chain released a statement to WWD, saying that officials had "no involvement in this religious and political issue.”

“We continue to abide by the laws of the countries we operate in and do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind," the spokesperson added, according to the report. "The laws that exist in other countries outside of where Dorchester Collection operates do not affect the policies that govern how we run our hotels."

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