Not long ago, the Beverly Hills Hotel was a place where tourists would flock to catch a glimpse of celebrities. But last week, anyone passing the iconic hotel saw something else entirely: Hooded protesters showing raw footage of stonings.
The protesters were rallying Thursday night to support a boycott of the local landmark, one of several hotels owned by The Dorchester Collection, which is controlled by Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. The sultan recently imposed strict Islamic laws that include punishing homosexuals, adulterers and others with flogging and stoning.
UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents hospitality workers in Southern California, organized the protest and posted images on Facebook:
"Stoning is an extremely violent, gruesome form of the death penalty," the union said in a press release cited by Raw Story. "You are buried standing up, with just your head and neck above the ground. Then people throw stones at you until you’re dead.”
The new laws also impose penalties such as amputations for theft as well as jail time and fines for anyone who attempts to teach a Muslim child about religions other than Islam.
The hotel issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter in April saying it does not tolerate discrimination.
"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," the statement said. "We do not tolerate any form of discrimination and strongly value people and cultural diversity amongst our guests and employees."
The protesters also photographed what they said were hotel security guards trying to block cars from seeing the projections:
“Where is David Geffen? Where is Barry Diller? Where is Jeffrey Katzenberg? And so many other industry power brokers?” Gary Snyder, a former resident of the hotel who was once involved in a lawsuit over its security practices, asked via email.
Snyder is part of the Redstone family, whose company, National Amusements, controls Viacom and CBS. He said his family is firmly behind the boycott, but the silence from many others in the industry is a sign they want nothing more than to quietly return to the hotel.
“Look, I understand. The Beverly Hills Hotel is where deals get done. Stars are made and the moguls who make them are seen,” Snyder said. “But, you see, it is for this precise reason that everyone must stay away.”
UPDATE: A spokesman for Sumner Redstone contacted The Huffington Post via email and said, "Mr. Snyder does not speak on behalf of, nor has he had any contact with, Mr. Redstone or his associated companies on this or any issue. Mr. Redstone has not commented on the boycott."
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