L.A. Controller, Councilman and LGBTQ Leaders Urge Boycott of Brunei-Owned Hotels to Protest Anti-Gay Laws

LOS ANGELES — Today, L.A. Controller Ron Galperin, Councilmember Paul Koretz, leaders of LGBTQ organizations, and neighborhood advocates jointly called on Angelenos and people of conscience to boycott the Hotel Bel-Air and Beverly Hills Hotel, two establishments owned by the royal family of Brunei. The call stems from Brunei’s announced plans to implement draconian criminal laws on April 3, including death sentences for LGBTQ people who engage in sex and for adulterers, along with amputation for thieves. The global outcry against Brunei’s actions has been swift and loud. Yesterday, the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights called the new laws “cruel and inhuman,” and various celebrities, politicians and organizations are supporting the boycott call.

“As a citywide elected official, I represent a diverse community of Angelenos, and I call on everyone to boycott the hotels owned by Brunei’s royal family,” said L.A. Controller Ron Galperin. “I will not set foot in these establishments so long as they are owned and controlled by a regime that is willing to kill LGBTQ people. While I feel bad for the many hard-working employees of these local hotels, no one should support or attend any events there while lives are on the line. I urge all people of conscience to join me in standing up to hate and brutality.”

“The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles have a long romantic history in Southern California and have been luxurious destinations for tourists and locals for decades,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz, District 5. “But as long as Brunei enforces these barbaric laws, we have to do everything we can to publicly condemn their actions and, if that means marring their reputation and fabled history, then so be it. We can’t allow the Sultan of Brunei and the country’s financial institutions to comfortably profit, while their new laws make being gay and adultery capital offenses and theft and abortions are met with degrading brutal punshments, as well.”

“We cannot sit idly by as a murderous regime profits off our friends’ and neighbors’ patronage, just because they’re nice hotels,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “But it’s also important to remember that the Sultan is not alone. To this day, there are eight United Nations member states in which the death penalty is imposed as a punishment for consensual activity between people of the same sex.”

“The City of Los Angeles and the United States and world should place severe sanctions on Brunei for taking LGBTQ rights back to the Stone Age,” said Karina Samala, Chair of the Transgender Advisory Council. “We are all human beings with a right to live in freedom.”

Following the press conference, Koretz introduced a resolution to the Los Angeles City Council, urging the Council to support the boycott. The resolution can be found here.

Follow L.A. Controller Ron Galperin at @LAController on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.