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Feminist Majority Foundation Campaigns Against Beverly Hills Hotel Amid Human Rights Controversy

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The world famous Beverly Hills hotel now is at the center of a human rights controversy.

At issue is an edict by the hotel owner, the Sultan of Brunei, to impose a law in his country on Friday that would allow the stoning of gays and women.

Feminist Majority Foundation Executive Vice-President Kathy Spillar said her organization was planning to hold its Global Women’s Rights Awards at the hotel this year – until she heard about the sultan’s plans to impose “Sharia Law” in the small oil producing country in Southeast Asia.

“[Penalties include] stoning to death of gay men and lesbians, and flogging women who have had abortions and other draconian measures. We could not – could not – hold the event there,” Spillar told CBS2’s Serene Branson.

After campaigning against the Taliban in the late ’90s, Spillar said the foundation is now campaigning to “stop the sultan.”

“This Sultan of Brunei will become a pariah if he doesn’t reverse these edicts. These are egregious human rights violations,” she said.

The jet-setting sultan, who owns properties around the world, said he was imposing the law to protect his people from globalization.

Feminist Majority Foundation board member Mavis Leno, set to co-chair the event with her husband, comedian Jay Leno, said of the decision: “‘Kill-a-gay’ laws, or laws that allow the flogging of women for abortion, violate international law and have no place in civilized society.”

The Talk co-host Sharon Osbourne also recently weighed in, vowing not to support the Beverly Hills Hotel while such a law was in place.

“I will not frequent an establishment that is owned by a person who says they are going to stone gays,” she said in part.

The Brunei Ministry of Finance controls the Dorchester Collection, which runs the hotel.

A spokesperson for the Dorchester Collection said in a statement on Wednesday: “We are sensitive to the fact that any such potential withdrawal of business directly impacts our employees, who have no involvement in this religious and political issue. Dorchester Collection continues to abide by the laws of the countries we operate in and does not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind.”

The awards event is now scheduled to take place at the Hammer Museum on Monday.

Demonstrators are expected to hold a rally outside of the Beverly Hills Hotel Monday at noon.

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