John Legend will not attend a party in his honor at the Beverly Hills Hotel after learning that the hotel’s owner, the Sultan of Brunei, implemented anti-women, antI-LGBT Sharia law in his home country.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Confidential magazine planned the February 5 bash to honor Legend for being nominated for a Best Original Song Academy Award for the film Selma, as well as being nominated for a Grammy for his hit song “All of Me.” Legend is on the cover of the magazine’s December/January issue.
However, the magazine probably should have known better; last year, a number of celebrities boycotted the Beverly Hills Hotel after learning that its owner, the Sultan of Brunei, implemented sharia law in his country, which calls for the stoning of gay people and adulterers.
“John Legend will not be attending the L.A. Confidential party at the Beverly Hills Hotel on February 5th in light of the horrific anti-women and anti-LGBT policies approved by the hotel’s owner, the Sultan of Brunei,” the singer’s rep Amanda Silverman told THR. “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.”
Magazine publisher Alison Miller told THR the party would go on as planned.
“Los Angeles Confidential will move forward with our annual Awards’ Issue celebration at the Beverly Hills Hotel,” Miller said in a statement. “We respect Mr. Legend’s decision not to attend the event, and believe that each individual, company and organization must make their own decision as to how they communicate their positions on political views, social and civil rights.”
The Human Rights Campaign had written a letter to the magazine on Tuesday, asking them to find a different location for the party. After Legend cancelled his appearance, the HRC applauded his decision and slammed the magazine for choosing “convenience over courage.”
“It looks like [LA Confidential] chose convenience over courage, and that’s tremendously disappointing,” HRC’s Jason Rahlan said in a statement. “While LA Confidential didn’t follow the leadership of Mr. Legend, we hope that potential guests of the event will.”
In May of last year, a number of celebrities including Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John and Kim Kardashian initiated a boycott against the historic hotel in response to the Sultan’s implementation of sharia law in Brunei. While the boycott was initially successful, THR notes that plenty of celebrities and Hollywood executives have been spotted at the hotel recently. Another of the Sultan’s Los Angeles properties, the Hotel Bel-Air, has reportedly not seen a significant drop in business.