The legendary Beverly Hills Hotel has seen a surge in cancellations of bookings and denouncements on social media, as Hollywood celebrities, moguls and others declare a boycott against the home of the famed Polo Lounge and its sister luxury hotel, the Bel Air, run by the Dorchester Collection.
The company is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who recently announced that the country he rules would follow strict Sharia law regarding homosexuality and adultery, both punishable by death by stoning, as well as other crimes with harsh penalties. LGBT activists and advocates have called on Hollywood power-players, celebrities, moguls and the public to boycott the hotel, so as not to support the Sultan's repugnant announcement. Celebrities from Jay Leno to moguls like Richard Branson have organized protests or vowed not to solicit the hotels, and have called for public boycotts.
They're right to shout out about it. To Westerners, and even to many Muslims, the very strict interpretations of Sharia law such as stoning to death is abhorrent. If we've learned nothing else from the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, or the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks, or the genocide of half a million Sudanese in Darfur, we've surely learned the fatal danger of remaining silent against something we find universally horrifying. And certainly as Americans and promulgators of democratic values and the basic tenets of free speech, you could even say we have a responsibility to speak up for those who cannot protest themselves.
Boycotting a hotel, however, is very different from protesting its owner. Who are you hurting when you cancel events, or urge your clients, your fans, or employees not to do business at the hotel? You're hurting the workers, who are American, not Brunei citizens, have no say in the laws of a foreign ruler, and are just trying to make a living. They are the most vulnerable to the strings that get pulled by those more powerful than they are, whether it's their boss, their company owners, or well-meaning activists who can effectively put them out of their jobs.
Boycotts of mid-sized establishments like the Beverly Hills Hotel inevitably hurt the innocent, and it's a pretty safe bet that most of those 1,000 workers didn't even know who owned their hotel until last week, let alone what a Sultan of Brunei was. So why punish them?
The hundreds of housekeepers, cooks, bartenders, and valets just wanted jobs, and especially the tips that supplemented them. Taking away some hotel bookings from a man who thinks nothing of covering his Rolls Royce in 24 karat gold isn't going to hurt him, but it sure is going to hurt them, and many might not ever recover.
The rest here.
Although I do agree that boycotts often adversely affect the wrong people, I have to wonder if she felt the same about the boycotting of Chik-fil-As, which are franchised operations. I doubt it.