In a City Council Chamber filled with 150 employees from The Beverly Hills Hotel, the Beverly Hills City Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning the government of Brunei for imposing Sharia law, characterized as “a series of laws that impose extremely harsh penalties, including death by stoning for homosexuality and adultery.”
The resolution condemns the Government of Brunei and other governments that engage in similar policies and requests that they “divest themselves of all properties in Beverly Hills.”
The hotel staff members attended the meeting to remind the council and the public that their actions also affect the jobs they depend on.
The Brunei Investment Agency owns the Dorchester Collection, which has hotels in London, Paris, Milan, Ascot and Geneva.
Christopher Cowdry, CEO of the Dorchester Collection, ?ew in from London to attend the meeting. He released a statement that, “More than$5 trillion of capital is managed by Sovereign Wealth Funds, the majority of which is from South East Asia and the Middle East countries governed by Sharia law and not aligned with our civil liberties. Many of these companies are in our own back yard. Against this backdrop, we question why The Beverly Hills Hotel is being singled out.”
The hotel collects $11 million in taxes for the City. “I see no action being taken by this council refuting those laws in other countries,” said Cowdry, pointing out that they were also engaged in business in Beverly Hills.
He said he spoke on behalf of the 650 people who are employed at the hotel, and that he would, “protect their jobs, no matter what.”
Several employees delivered impassioned statements in support of the hotel.
One employee, who identified himself as a member of the LGBT community said: “I ask that you take your issues to our local leaders. Knock on the doors of our capital and take your concerns where it counts.”
Another tearful employee said, “in order to commit that kind of violence you have to forget that the person in front of you is a human being. The employees of this hotel are also human beings.”
Another employee said that, “The enemy is not in our backyard; the enemy is somewhere else.” He asked that pressure be brought on our government, not the hotel. “The one thing I haven’t heard anyone say is that we are all on the same side in this. No one agrees with prejudice,” he said.
“None of the money generated goes back to Brunei. It’s spent here in salaries and improvements. These people live off the tips about $8 million. Seven hundred families are going to be directly affected by this. My concern is for the workers,” said Beverly Hills resident Robbie Anderson, whose great-grandmother built the hotel.
The City Council passed the resolution in a unanimous decision.
Bosse said she is “proud of our City and felt that we had to make a public statement based on our traditional beliefs and values. As it has many times in the past, our City Council took a stand to support justice and human rights for all with its unanimous vote to condemn the government of Brunei’s new laws that impose harsh penalties including death by stoning for homosexuality and other behaviors. The people of Beverly Hills value their traditions, their diversity and the dignity of human beings everywhere. It is the core of who we are as a community. We will not be blind to the horrors of such laws and we will not remain silent.”