- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 6, 2014

About 100 activists, including Jay Leno and his wife, gathered Monday in Los Angeles to protest the Brunei-owned Beverly Hills Hotel after Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced his rollout of Shariah law in the Islamic country.

Celebrities have begun boycotting Dorchester Collection luxury hotel chain after the sultan introduced a code of Islamic law that includes death by stoning for offenses such as sodomy and adultery.

The former “Tonight Show” host and his wife, Mavis, as well as other members from the Feminist Majority Foundation, gathered in a park across from the hotel on Sunset Boulevard for the rally, a CBS affiliate in Los Angeles reported.

Mr. Leno compared the sultan to Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who is embroiled in controversy over racist comments he made in a leaked conversation between himself and a female friend.

“Let’s put it in perspective, the people in the Beverly Hills Hotel now are the Clippers, the Sultan of Brunei is Sterling,” Leno said.

Celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson have also recently announced their boycott of the hotel chain.

“No employee, nor our family, will stay at Dorchester Hotels until the Sultan abides by basic human rights,” Mr. Branson tweeted Saturday.

“I won’t be visiting the Hotel Bel-Air or the Beverly Hills Hotel until this is resolved,” Ms. DeGeneres tweeted April 22.

The sultan also reportedly owns the the Dorchester in London.

Mr. Bolkiah announced Wednesday that the country’s transition to Shariah law has started. The initial phase introduces punishments for lesser offenses such as failure to attend Friday prayers and indecent behavior.

A second phase is to start later this year that will introduce dismemberment and flogging for crimes such as theft and robbery. Death by stoning will be introduced late next year for greater offenses such as sodomy and adultery, Agence France-Presse reported.

A Beverly Hills Hotel representative told CBS that sanctions or any other economic action agains the hotel would only hurt employees.

“The introduction of the new law is a political and religious matter which has nothing to with myself or any members of staff of the hotel,” said Dorchester Collection CEO Christopher Cowdray. “We have done nothing wrong. We have a very, very strong code of conduct. That code provides absolute equality and respect for every employee.”

The Beverly Hills City Council Tuesday is expected to vote on a resolution proposed by the mayor that condemns the new laws in Brunei and calls on the sultan to sell the Beverly Hills Hotel, CBS reported.

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