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Sultan Of Brunei Asked To Divest Ownership In Beverly Hills Hotel Or Reject ‘Inhumane’ Islamic Law

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BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA.com) — The Beverly Hills City Council sent a strong message Tuesday night to the owner of the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel.

In a 5-0 vote, council members approved a resolution compelling the Sultan of Brunei to either sell the hotel or denounce an Islamic law imposed in Brunei last month that allows the stoning to death of gay men and lesbians and the public flogging of women who have abortions.

KCAL9’s Serene Branson reports more than 100 Beverly Hills Hotel employees, many wearing white dinner jackets, pink housekeeping uniforms and chefs hats, stood together while voicing their concerns about the resolution.

“We are being evicted for what is going on right now,” one employee said while addressing council members.

Although Mayor Lili Bosse stopped short of calling for a city-sanctioned boycott, she urged the city council to adopt the resolution, calling on the Brunei government to change its laws or divest itself out of the Beverly Hills Hotel.

“The laws are shocking, inhumane and must be met with a strong statement of support for human rights,” Bosse said.

The meeting came on the heels of a demonstration outside of the hotel on Monday, as well as a celebrity boycott. KCAL9’s Serene Branson reports major organizations have also pulled their events from the venue, costing an estimated $1.5 million.

A spokesperson for the Independent School Alliance said the organization moved its awards dinner to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel Tuesday evening due to the controversy.

“We are committed to inclusion and it is antithetical and regressive. It is not association that we wanted to have with our organization,” spokesperson Keishia Kemp said.

The CEO of the Dorchester Group, the parent company of the Beverly Hills Hotel and the company that also runs the Hotel Bel-Air, said the resolution unfairly targets its 650 employees, who stand to lose $8 million in gratuities.

“Actions that you take have to be seriously considered because they will affect the livelihoods of these people,” Dorchester Collection CEO Christopher Cowdray said.

The Beverly Hills Hotel is not a unionized property.

Although three employees made brief statements to the city council Tuesday night, a spokesperson for the Dorchester told KCAL9 they would not be allowed to give interviews at this time.

It remains to be seen what the affect of the resolution and the unintended boycott will be.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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