Hollywood stars boycotting the Beverly Hills Hotel have been accused of being hypocritical, but are they also uninformed? RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned that employees of the storied property are claiming the boycott is counter-productive because none of the profits from the iconic landmark are sent back to the controversial Sultan of Brunei, but rather it is either re-invested in the property, spent on staff members, or stays in the United States!
Many Hollywood A-listers have turned away from the pink palace after its owner, the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, enacted conservative Islamic laws that call for the stoning death of homosexuals and adulterers. Since the boycott began earlier this year, the hotel has lost famous clientele and ritzy parties, including the glamorous night-before-the-Oscars fundraiser.
However Christopher Cowdry, CEO of The Dorchester Collection, which runs the Beverly Hills Hotel, told RadarOnline.com in a statement,”While we recognize people’s concerns, we believe this boycott should not be directed to our hotels and dedicated employees. The impact of this not only affects our loyal team members but extends to the local community, our valued partners and suppliers from Dorchester Collection continue to be re-invested into the hotels, their people and communities. This has been the case since the company was founded in 2006.”
The “We Are The Employees of The Beverly Hills” Facebook page, which was established after the boycott began also asserts, “All profits continue to be re-invested into The Beverly Hills Hotel and our sister hotel, the Hotel Bel Air and in turn, invested into our local community, businesses and people. This boycott not only impacts us the employees, but also extends to the local community, our local small business partners and suppliers.”
Indeed, Radar has learned that two local vendors that work with the Beverly Hills Hotel have had their business severely impacted by the boycott: The Hidden Garden florist, and audio visual company AGF Media Services.
What’s more, the Beverly Hills Hotel only represents a very small percentage of the Sultan’s wealth in which the bulk of it comes from oil profits.
Meanwhile, President Obama is fast-tracking Brunei to full membership into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and according to reports, the “special trade agreement would bind the U.S. to Brunei and give the Islamic Sultanate special economic privileges.”
One hotel staffer told Radar, “Why aren’t any of President Obama’s Hollywood supporters, including Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who has been a vocal supporter of the boycott, demanding he publicly condemn Brunei’s new laws against the LGBT community? Katzenberg hosted a huge fundraiser for President Obama last year, certainly he could talk to one of the advisers and ask why Obama is giving Brunei such a huge trade deal in the wake of these horrific laws being enacted.”
Newlywed Kim Kardashian recently reversed her earlier position to boycott the hotel, announcing she would now share the perspective of celebrities like Russell Crowe and Rose McGowan, who choose to frequent the hotel to support the staff.
“For every warm smile when they greet us and for all the dedication they put in to make our experiences more enjoyable, I hope we can return the same love and compassion to make sure they’re not forgotten during this protest,” she wrote on her blog.
“During this challenging time, we have been deeply touched by the tremendous support received from our loyal guests, including Kim Kardashian, and long standing business partners who recognize that Dorchester Collection hotels are part of the fabric of their local communities,” Cowdry previously told Radar. “We proudly honor their iconic heritage and remain committed to our core values of integrity, equality and diversity.”
The Beverly Hills Hotel pays $6-7 million a year in occupancy taxes to the city of Beverly Hills, and $4 million in state taxes. it’s estimated the hotel contributes $90 million annually through payroll, and purchasing services ad goods from local companies.
The hotel employs over 650 people, including many from the LGBT community.