Musician John Legend has pulled out of a pre-Grammy entertainment industry party in his honour because the venue is owned by the anti-gay Sultan of Brunei.
Legend was to be the guest of honour at Los Angeles Confidential magazine’s bash at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Thursday night to celebrate him as its latest cover star.
The singer, however, has now confirmed that he will not attend the party because the hotel is owned by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who last year implemented a new Islamic sharia penal code that will allow for the stoning to death of gays and lesbians.
“John Legend will not be attending the L.A. Confidential party at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Thursday, February 5th in light of the horrific anti-women and anti-LGBT policies approved by the hotel’s owner, the Sultan of Brunei,” Legend’s representative, Amanda Silverman, told The Hollywood Reporter.
“These policies, which among other things could permit women and LGBT Bruneians to be stoned to death, are heinous and certainly don’t represent John’s values or the spirit of the event. John does not, in any way, wish to further enrich the Sultan while he continues to enforce these brutal laws,” she added.
Brunei’s anti-gay law has led to an international boycott of the Sultan’s Dorchester Collection hotel chain, which includes the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has called on Los Angeles Confidential to move its party to a different venue.
“The simple truth is that profits from these hotels support a regime that could start stoning women and LGBT people as soon as this year,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global. “Moving this event would send a clear message to the Sultan of Brunei, and would show that the leadership of L.A. Confidential stands in support of the fundamental human rights of women and LGBT people.”
The magazine has yet to announce whether it will move the party elsewhere. It is understood to be struggling to find another last minute venue.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is the absolute ruler of Brunei and is one of the world’s wealthiest people. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has condemned Brunei’s penal code reforms, saying it was “deeply concerned” and that this could “encourage further violence and discrimination against women and also against people on the basis of sexual orientation.”