Stephen Fry, Ellen DeGeneres join boycott of luxury hotel chain

Stephen Fry and Ellen DeGeneres are calling for a boycott of a luxury hotel chain. Getty Images

TORONTO — Actor Stephen Fry and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres have joined a boycott of a luxury hotel chain owned by the Sultan of Brunei, a nation where being gay is now punishable by death.

“Cancelled in nick of time: discovered @CoworthParkUK that I was booked into is part of the ‘Dorchester Collection,'” Fry tweeted Saturday.

The British actor, who appeared in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug last year, later tweeted a list of the Dorchester Collection hotels — which includes the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air in California.

“All places to avoid until the Brunei Sultan decides that stoning people for whatever reason is disgusting.”

DeGeneres tweeted: “I won’t be visiting the Hotel Bel-Air or the Beverly Hills Hotel until this is resolved.”

The Dorchester Collection is a subsidiary of the Brunei Investment Agency, which is controlled by the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.

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The penalty for committing a homosexual act in Brunei recently increased this month from a 10-year prison sentence to death by stoning.

The Dorchester Collection includes hotels in London, Paris, Rome, Milan, Geneva and Los Angeles.

Earlier, shoe designer Brian Atwood urged his fashion industry colleagues to boycott the hotel chain to “send a clear signal to their owner … that stoning people to death for being gay in Brunei is not acceptable.”

Among those to retweet the message was Giancarlo Giammetti, partner of famed Italian designer Valentino, and fashion designer Peter Som.

A spokesperson for the Dorchester Collection told WWD: “We are sensitive to the fact that any such potential withdrawal of business directly impacts our employees, who represent the full diversity of society. Our loyal and dedicated employees have no involvement in this religious and political issue.”

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The spokesperson added: “We do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind.”

In 2008, there were calls for a boycott of the Marriott hotel chain — which includes the luxury brand Ritz-Carlton — because the Marriott family is Mormon.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) spent an estimated $20 million supporting Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative to ban equal marriage in the state.

The campaign forced CEO Bill Marriott to publicly declare that he did not personally donate to the campaign to pass Prop 8.

“We embrace all people as our customers, associates, owners and franchisees regardless of race, sex, gender, identity or sexual orientation,” Marriott insisted.

This post has been updated. An earlier version incorrectly identified one of the L.A. hotels.


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