The Night Before the Oscars, an annual gala held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, may be hosted at a different venue henceforth, due to the Sultan of Brunei's ownership of the storied inn. The Motion Picture & Television Fund, which holds the annual star-studded pre-Oscar party at the Dorchester Collection property, has cut ties with the establishment, after Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah enacted Sharia law last week in his Southeast Asian country.
In the Arabic-speaking world, Sharia, also known as Islāmī qānūn, means the moral code and religious law of a prophetic religion. Sharia deals with many of the same topics addressed by secular law, including politics, crime and economics, as well as with personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, general etiquette and fasting. Punishments include amputation, flogging and stoning.
In a statement, MPTF’s top executives expressed their “deep concern about the recent enactment of laws in Brunei that call for violent punishment, including amputation and death by stoning, against those engaging in same-sex activity and extramarital sexual relations and those committing adultery. We expressed very clearly that we cannot condone or tolerate these harsh and repressive laws and as a result support a business owned by the Sultan of Brunei or a Brunei sovereign fund associated with the government of Brunei.”
The Night Before party, initially conceived by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, has been held at the Beverly Hills Hotel since 2003, and has raised more than $60 million over the past 12 years. Its 2014 host committee included Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, Camila and Matthew McConaughey, Jamie Foxx, Sandra Bullock and Octavia Spencer.
On Tuesday, the Beverly Hills City Council is scheduled to consider a resolution regarding the landmark. Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse commented that the boycott “is not in any way a statement against the Beverly Hills Hotel … which is a pillar of our community. It’s about the ownership and its lack of concern for justice and human rights.”
We want the [Beverly Hills] hotel under different ownership so it's long & rich history in B.H. won't be tarnished. -- Beverly Hills mayor
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) May 7, 2014
Other Dorchester Collection properties including the Hotel Bel-Air have also been boycotted due to Bolkiah's Sharia decree, and Virgin Records chief Richard Branson tweeted that neither his family nor Virgin employees would stay at Dorchester Collection hotels “until the Sultan abides by basic human rights.”
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) May 3, 2014
Image via Wikimedia Commons