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Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

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Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by party animal - not! on Sun May 11 2014, 10:50

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This is interesting because Our Hero and many of his friends have been known to stay in this group of hotels all over the world, including the Dorchester in London, and a lovely hotel in Ascot called Cowarth Park just outside London which he has stayed in recently and which may have been a choice on the 'wedding venue list' (acres of ground, separate houses in the grounds, lovely function rooms, near the airport and total privacy near the Wentworth estate).

Without a doubt off the list now



We should hail the celebrity boycott of the Dorchester over the sultan and sharia law

In his almost 50 years as a successful absolute ruler, the Sultan of Brunei has naturally encountered little opposition. It will have helped that criticism of the Brunei royal family, an outfit close to the heart of Prince Charles, is prohibited. Public gatherings of 10 or more people require a government permit. As for elections, there have not been any since 1962, when the British helped crush a popular uprising.

Accordingly, when the sultan announced the imposition of full sharia law, including stoning to death for adultery and homosexuality, and amputation for thieves, there was every reason to suppose this innovation, described by Amnesty as a return to the dark ages, would go swimmingly within the dictatorship and cause little trouble abroad.

His career in oppression has never, after all, impaired the Sultan's warm relations with the UK, which for some reason rents him a battalion of Gurkhas, or his business as a hotelier, proprietor of the Dorchester Collection. Unlike the Obamas, for instance, the Sultan was an honoured guest at the wedding of William and Kate; just last month Baroness Warsi, Britain's "human rights minister", allowed herself to be entertained by this supporter of laws which value her testimony at one half of a man's.

On the other hand, the Sultan has not previously annoyed Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Fry, Richard Branson, much of the fashion industry and another force he is unlikely to encounter in his kingdom, the unionised LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender) activists, whose efforts brought his planned barbarism to celebrity attention. Now, days after the first phase of sharia law came into effect, the Sultan is, in fashion terminology, a thing. Boycotts are having a moment.

The Sultan's name is rubbished on Twitter, petitions are circulating, disrespectful placards and demonstrations assault his hotels in cities far beyond the reach of Brunei's sedition laws. In Beverly Hills, the council demands that the sultan sell up the Beverly Hills hotel or denounce his own legislation. Fry, who cancelled his own stay at the hotel group's Coworth Park, Ascot's "exclusive pampering destination", tweets followers to: "Take action against the Sultan of Brunei and his new anti-gay law by putting sanctions in place," while Yves St Laurent is one of several big names pitting fashion against sharia, with a pledge that, until the law is repealed in Brunei, none of its employees will stay in a Dorchester Collection property.

If the history of boycotts has occasionally witnessed greater personal sacrifices – in which I would include the refusal to buy a Starbucks when the alternative is no coffee at all, along with the sacrifice of Amazon's next-day delivery in an Amazon-engineered bookshop desert – the reputational impact of such gestures cannot be denied. Indeed, for some of the super-rich, merely the principled objections of Richard Branson, much subsidised tosser of air hostesses and master of HMRC-remote Necker Island, will be enough reason not to book, say, a Dorchester Chelsea Flower Show afternoon tea, featuring a talk on "The glittering world of cake design", £75 a head.

Then again, others will prefer to take their lead from friends of the Dorchester such as Prince Harry or Mariah Carey (who sang at a New Year's party for the sultan's son).

In the event that Hollywood divides over sharia as it once did over communism the Sultan should also, if past hospitality means anything, be able to count on the backing of Diana Ross, Jerry Hall, Pamela Anderson and Faye Dunaway against DeGeneres, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and Jay Leno.

Added to what is, for many of us early adopters, an existing, lifelong boycott of the Dorchester Collection, as much on account of its vulgarity and gruesome How to Spend It-dazzled clientele as its obscene expense and ban on beanie hats ("the Dorchester dress code is smart casual") the rising number of sharia-related cancellations should represent substantial, if not significant losses – not least, as its CEO, Christopher Cowdray, has mournfully pointed out, for the great man's innocent employees. Lighten up! It is not as if his serene majesty wants to decapitate the Dorchester's beanie hat transgressors (yet). Anyway, he points out, it's not fair, picking out just one merciless hotelier. "There are other hotel companies in this city that are owned by Saudi Arabia," Mr Cowdray told protestors, "you know, your shirt probably comes from a country which has human rights issues".

The man surely has a point. We should, as he implies, boycott all such offenders, equally. Particularly when a combination of dynastic oppression and flamboyant foreign investment makes the targets easy to identify. For instance, three natural refuges for the Dorchester Collection's reeling fashion evacuees are the George V in Paris, the Plaza in New York and London's Savoy hotel, proprietor of the trio: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a Saudi prince and, again, a buddy of Prince Charles. Plainly, anyone boycotting the Dorchester on account of sharia law is unlikely to feel comfortable at the Savoy, whose owner, as a member of the ruling family, presumably endorses the increased sentence just imposed on a young Saudi Raif Badawi, who ran an internet discussion forum, of 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes.

Quite why the introduction of sharia law in Brunei should have prompted so much more indignation than sharia law in Saudi Arabia, where it has imposed numberless deaths and stonings, is a fashion and Hollywood mystery. And if prominent names on Twitter are finally willing to take a lead, maybe it is more fruitful to celebrate increased awareness, than to speculate about a form of moral blindness that has, until now, indulged any number of despots with ambitions to be fashion icons, philanthropists, even, with the assistance of Vogue, role models.

Certainly women might learn something from LGBT activists about the swift use of boycotts to punish businesses run by people who demonstrably abominate them, even when this entails confrontation with the very industry now boycotting the Dorchester.

Whatever becomes of sharia-shaming versus the sultan, considering the latter's inevitable advantages as a billionaire tyrant backed by the British establishment, the speed and impact of this campaign, in a week when Starbucks also turns out to have been further punished by consumers, have made a brilliant change from the more familiar narrative of public apathy, disillusion and fruitless rage. True, renewed action against Amazon could use some righteousness from celebrity taxpayers such as Mr Branson. But Margaret Hodge has, minus Hollywood but with huge support from activists on social media, already inspired a measurable shift in trade away from coffee giants that flagrantly dodge tax, or as her critics put it, "behave completely legally".

Consumer boycotting can, it turns out, amount to more than the fleeting sense of empowerment that comes from bypassing a Starbucks or Caffé Nero, from quitting Npower, buying a book in a shop, aiming evils at Abercrombie & Fitch and as of last week, refusing, point blank, to book the Messel suite at the Dorchester.


Last edited by Nicky80 on Sun May 11 2014, 11:50; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added text)

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by Nicky80 on Sun May 11 2014, 11:55

I don't think this article / protest will have any impact to the Dorchester Collection. The guests they have are rich and have a different views of politics than us.

As the article already said even the Royal family is friends with the Sultan and was invited to Kate's and William's wedding. And many Hollywood stars especially in music give concerts to the Sultan in Brunei every year......

It is all about money. Very sad.......

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by party animal - not! on Sun May 11 2014, 12:08



So very true, Nicky, but since this has happened so recently, I wonder. Wouldn't be surprised to see the whole lot being sold off.

And if not, I really don't see Our Hero booking any of the collection for his wedding!


A thought. Weddings are usually booked up months if not years ahead, aren't they??

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by Nicky80 on Sun May 11 2014, 12:17

Yes at least month ahead. But if he uses one of his private homes maybe he doesn't need to but than again all rooms for the guest has to be booked.....mmhh

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by LizzyNY on Sun May 11 2014, 14:01

I guess it depends on how many guests there will be and where the wedding is held. If it really is a small wedding, it could be anywhere. If it is near one of his homes, they might not even need hotel rooms. Whatever they decide, I can't see them using a Dorchester Collection venue. It would reflect really badly on both of them, IMO.

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by Nicky80 on Sun May 11 2014, 15:03

No I don't think it would reflect badly on them. It didn't reflect badly on Kate and Prince William when they had they wedding and invited the Sultan.

But I also don think they will use the Dorchester Collection as a venue. As those venues are famous for famous people I'm sure the media keeps an eye on those venues. I can imagine they will use something what is hard to find out for the media..hehe

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by LornaDoone on Sun May 11 2014, 16:20

Well I don't think this one is going to go away.

The Beverly Hills Hotel is under siege by very influential and rich people and they are truly pissed at this guy.

The city council has already voted to demand the sultan sell his hotel at this point there is a boycott and it seems like it's pretty severe.

No one in this town who wants to work in the entertainment business is going to hang out at the Polo Lounge and definitely not be seen going in or out of that hotel.

George will most likely NOT use any of his hotels as it could signal a backlash from the people with whom he does business on a regular basis.

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by Nicky80 on Sun May 11 2014, 16:58

Interesting article:

Hollywood Protests Against Owners Of Beverly Hills Hotel

The hotel is part of a group owned by the Sultan of Brunei. The Southeast Asian country has enacted laws based on strict interpretations of Islam that impose restrictions on women and gays.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A landmark hotel in Hollywood has become the focus of protest. The hotel is part of an international chain. The hotel chain is owned by the Sultan of Brunei. He's the ruler of a tiny Southeast Asian country that recently introduced a strict form of Islamic Sharia laws. Celebrities who once stayed in that Hollywood hotel say they cannot accept the politics of its owner.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "HOTEL CALIFORNIA")

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: For more than a century, the five-star Beverly Hills Hotel has attracted the Hollywood crowd: Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne. Howard Hughes lived there for decades. The Beatles swam in the pool. The so-called Pink Palace even showed up on a 1976 album by The Eagles.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOTEL CALIFORNIA")

THE EAGLES: (Singing) Welcome to the Hotel California...

BARCO: The hotel once owned by celebrities Irene Dunn and Loretta Young now belongs to an investment group controlled by the Sultan of Brunei. He recently imposed a strict Islamic penal code that includes stoning to death gay men and lesbians and flogging women who have abortions. That sparked protests this week outside the Beverly Hills Hotel.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Nobody is going to set foot in that damn hotel until he is out of it. The Sultan of Brunei is a bully and a coward.

BARCO: Among the crowd was former late night TV host Jay Leno.

JAY LENO: We hope maybe to draw attention to this and people go, OK, maybe I won't hold my event there until they change this. I mean we have the economic pressure to apply. Nobody...

BARCO: Others, including comedian Ellen DeGeneres, actor Stephen Fry and TV host Sharon Osbourne also expressed outrage. The founder of Virgin says his employees are no longer allowed to stay at the hotel chain. Several Hollywood and women's groups have cancelled or moved their events from the hotels, including an annual pre-Oscars charity ball. And the city of Beverly Hills voted to boycott as well.

Hotel worker Anna Romer told the city council that would only hurt employees.

ANNA ROMER: It's not just breaking our hearts that you would associate us with these horrible acts this man commits, but it strangles our livelihood.

BARCO: The Beverly Hills hotel is run by the Dorchester Collection, which also runs the Bel Aire hotel and eight others in Europe. The company's CEO Christopher Crowdray told TV station KCAL the protests are misguided.

CHRISTOPHER CROWDRAY: The introduction of a new law is a political and religious matter, which has nothing to do with myself or any staff of the hotel.

BARCO: Some suggest the protests may do little to sway the sultan, one of the richest men in the world. In fact, Kecia Ali, associate professor of Religion at Boston University, says the protests might just backfire.

KECIA ALI: If his ordinance provokes a protest from the people who seem to be the epitome of what he's trying to eradicate from his society, then it might actually bolster his image.

BARCO: Other countries with questionable human rights records own businesses in the U.S.; for example, a Chinese-government-backed company now owns the A.M.C. Theater chain. The co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," S.E. Cupp has called out Hollywood for continuing to do business with countries with laws similar to Brunei's: the United Arab Emirates.

S.E. CUPP: Justin Timberlake will perform there in May. "Fast and Furious 7" is reportedly filming there right now; George Clooney, Ben Affleck, the Kardashians - all popular guests of the Dubai.

BARCO: Will Hollywood celebrities single out every other company with connections to a country whose laws they don't like, asks Dorchester Collection CEO Christopher Crowdray. He suggests they might be more effective lobbying the U.S. State Department.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News.

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by Nicky80 on Sun May 11 2014, 17:15

Dorchester hotel boycott hits bookings

Calls for a boycott of the Dorchester Collection's 10 hotels, over its owner's links to the rulers of Brunei, have affected bookings, the firm has said

The hotel group, which runs 10 properties around the world, including three in Britain, is currently the focus of a worldwide boycott by several prominent celebrities over its ties to the sultanate of Brunei, which recently imposed a series of harsh new Islamic laws that increase the punishment for homosexuality from a 10-year prison sentence to death by stoning. The Dorchester Collection is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, an arm of Brunei’s finance ministry.

This week Sir Richard Branson became the latest to lend his support to the boycott; other notable backers include Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno, the American chat-show hosts, and Stephen Fry.

Sir Richard tweeted that "No @Virgin employee, nor our family, will stay at Dorchester Hotels until the Sultan abides by basic human rights."
But Christopher Cowdray, chief executive of Dorchester Collection, today released a statement touting the firm’s “core values of integrity, equality and diversity”, adding that “European companies across the board are funded by foreign investment, including Sovereign Wealth Funds.”

“While we recognise people’s concerns, we believe this boycott should not be directed to our hotels and dedicated employees,” he said. “ The economic impact of this not only affects our loyal team members but extends to the local community, our valued partners and suppliers.

“Today’s global economy needs to be placed in a broader perspective. Most of us are not aware of the investors behind the brands that have become an integral part of our everyday life, from the petrol we put in our cars, to the clothes we wear, to the way we use social media, and to the hotels we frequent. Our reputation, which has been built on service and integrity, speaks for itself. We do not tolerate any form of discrimination, we never have and we never will. Our policies are far removed from the politics of ownership.”

A spokeswoman for the Dorchester Collection admitted that the boycott had led to a drop bookings. The company’s three British hotels are The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane – both in London – and Coworth Park near Ascot. It also owns The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles and Le Meurice in Paris.

"In LA, the boycott is affecting our events and meeting business and our staffing needs," she added. "We have had several cancellations since April 17 which has resulted in lost revenue. The economic impact extends beyond our doors and affects the community as well."

Four more travel boycotts

SeaWorld - The Whale and Dolphin Conservation has led a recent campaign against theme parks such as SeaWorld over their treatment of animals. Tour operators, including Virgin Holidays, have been urged to stop selling trips to the attractions.

Botswana - Survival International, which campaigns for the rights of indigenous tribal peoples, has long criticised the Botswana government for its treatment of the country's Bushmen. Its calls for travellers to boycott Botswana have had a limited impact, but last year several tour operators lent their support.

Maldives - An online campaign urging tourists to boycott the Maldives received the backing of more than two million people last year. It followed the sentencing of a 15-year-old rape victim to 100 lashes for premarital sex. Other groups called for travellers to steer clear of the tourism-dependent archipelago after former president Mohamed Nasheed, the country's first democratically-elected leader, was overthrown in February 2012.

Burma - For many years travellers were told by campaign groups to leave Burma off their itineraries, due to the oppression of its people by the military junta. That changed in 2009 when Aung San Suu Kyi dropped her opposition to tourism to Burma - a story that was broken by Telegraph Travel.

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by Nicky80 on Sun May 11 2014, 17:23

To be honest, these boycotts sound maybe as a good idea but I think the only people it hurts are the employees. If business stays away they well reduce employment. But I don't think the Sultan will be concerned.

I think this issue is a political issue and other governments should do something to put pressure on. Now only the employees feel the pressure.

If this is a new way than we should boycott oil too and use from now an a bicycle, and don't use Apple, and of course some cloth companies need to be ignored too....but this is not happening....I guess Hollywood at the moment is choosing which one to boycott. who is bad to boycott and who is bad to work with...aaahh sense???? Don't see it....

But who knows...maybe my opinion is completely wrong. Maybe it has big impact and it will change something. .....I'm always open to be proven different  Thumbs up! 

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by Atalante on Sun May 11 2014, 17:54

You gotta start somewhere ! I'd say BOYCOTT !  Twisted Evil 

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by LornaDoone on Sun May 11 2014, 22:34

Better economic impact would be for an embargo against their oil. That would hit the sultan where it really hurts.

According to this site over half the country's GDP is based on oil sales.

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by LizzyNY on Sun May 11 2014, 23:23

There is a rather long article in the New York Post today (nypost.com) titled "The Sex-obsessed World of Brunei" that details the history of the Sultan and his brothers. Apparently they are well known throughout the world for their promiscuous lifestyle and for spending enormous amounts of money on whatever pleases them. Since the press in Brunei is strictly controlled and it is illegal to criticize the government, I guess most of their people don't know what they're up to. Obviously, they would not apply Sharia to themselves, only to their citizens as a way of gaining even greater control.

I don't think the boycott will affect them much, but it might raise awareness that there is a movement to protect human rights everywhere.

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by LornaDoone on Sun May 11 2014, 23:47

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New York Post article mentioned above - lots of pictures there.


The sex-obsessed world of Brunei
By Maureen Callahan
May 10, 2014 | 12:46pm
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The Beverly Hills HotelPhoto: Getty Images
Last week, celebrities including Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, Sharon Osbourne, Richard Branson and Clive Davis united for an unlikely cause: a boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel, because its owner, the Sultan of Brunei, recently announced the implementation of Sharia law in his tiny South Asian nation.
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Jay Leno speaks at a protest across from the Beverly Hills Hotel May 5th.Photo: Getty Images
“Theory states that Allah’s law is cruel and unfair,” said Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, “but Allah himself has said that his law is indeed fair.”
Under Sharia law, the following is considered criminal behavior, punishable by fines, jail, amputation of limbs, public flogging or death by stoning: absence from Friday prayer services; becoming pregnant out of wedlock; wearing indecent clothing, and for women, refusal to wear a hijab; employing a non-Muslim babysitter; the use of the word “Allah” by Christians and the discussion of faith by any non-Muslims; publicly eating or drinking during Ramadan; theft; homosexuality; and adultery.
The Sultan, now 67, has slowly been moving Brunei in this direction for decades, but this recent, drastic declaration has no clear motive. Brunei is so rich with oil it’s fully independent; nor is it a target of Islamic extremists.
So, why now?
“Who knows?” says Reza Aslan, religious scholar and author of “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” “This is obviously not coming from a place of religious devotion, since the Sultan himself is in violation of every single rule of Sharia law you could possibly imagine.”
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Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah delivers a speech announcing the phased introduction of Sharia law October 22nd.Photo: Getty Images
Indeed, the Sultan and his equally decadent brother, Prince Jefri, were dubbed “constant companions in hedonism” in 2011 by Vanity Fair. He lives in a palace with 1,788 rooms, 257 bathrooms, five swimming pools, a mosque, a banquet hall that holds 5,000 people and a 110-car garage. When he turned 50, the Sultan built a stadium, invited Michael Jackson to perform in it and paid him $17 million for three concerts.
Jefri, 59, maintains a separate pleasure palace and once owned a 152-foot yacht called “Tits”; he named its tenders “Nipple 1” and “Nipple 2” and could never understand why others often found that juvenile and crass. Here and abroad, the brothers are infamous for their sex parties and their harems composed mainly of underage girls.
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Prince Jefri at his London home in Regents Park in 2006.Photo: Paul Grover
‘Shellfare State’
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Photo:
In 1984, after nearly 100 years as a British protectorate, Brunei gained independence. The Sultan is descended from a centuries-old royal line, maintained by inter-marriage among cousins.
Brunei is about the size of Delaware, with a population of 415,000, and the government provides free education, health care, pensions and low-interest loans for the purchase of homes and cars.
Oil is the source of all wealth, and when Shell began pumping in the 1970s, Brunei soon became known as “the Shellfare state.”
In 2012, Forbes magazine ranked Brunei as the fifth-richest nation in the world. Yet there is little fun to be had: Alcohol is banned and there is virtually no nightlife or culture.
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Sultan Bolkiah is escorted to a celebration for his birthday in 2005.Photo: Getty Images
“I’m trying to think of a place that’s duller,” Australian writer Charles James told Fortune in 1999. “Maybe a British village in midwinter.”
In one way, the brothers adhere to Islamic law: As proscribed, each has several wives and families. But everything else they do is in defiance of the Koran and the law they’ve just imposed.
“It’s a radical double standard,” says Jillian Lauren, who wrote about her life as a member of Jefri’s harem in her memoir “Some Girls.” “They have more money than anyone else. I know that they both have been married and divorced multiple times. It’s really hypocritical.”
It wasn’t until 2001, when Jefri was forced to auction off personal possessions after using the country as a piggy bank — spending an average of $747,000 a day for 10 years, on top of $17 billion in gifts to friends and family — that the sultanate’s true vulgarity was exposed. (His brother also treats the country as an ATM machine, and it remains a crime in Brunei for anyone to ever discuss how the royals spend their money.)
Among the family’s possessions:
• The Dorchester Hotel luxury chain
• More than 17 airplanes, including a private, customized Boeing 747 and an Airbus 340-200 — often used to transport their harems and the South American professional polo players they rent for sport
• 9,000 cars, including two custom-made Mercedes-Benz firetrucks
• 150 homes in 12 countries
• A private zoo
• One 12-foot-tall rocking horse
• Four life-sized statues depicting Jefri having sex with a fiancee ($800,000)
• A global network of employees to procure women
• Asprey, jeweler to the Queen of England
• 10 luxury watches, at a cost of $8 million, that showed a couple having sex every time the hour struck
• Hundreds of thousands of suits by Versace and Armani
• A gold course designed by Jack Nicklaus
• Gold-plated toilet-bowl brushes
• A sofa shaped like a Cadillac
• Dozens of bowling alley machines, pool tables, pizza ovens and grand pianos
• A professional lab to develop film
• 16,000 tons of marble, stacked in warehouses
“With their money, they could have cured diseases,” an adviser to Jefri told Fortune. “But they have little interest in the rest of humanity.”
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The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque located in Brunei’s capital city Bandar eri Begawan.Photo: Getty Images
Another described Jefri and his brother as incredibly dim. “They don’t have a lot of thoughts,” he said. “If you were a fly on the wall and heard their conversations, they’d take you to Bellevue.”
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A parliament building in Brunei’s capitol. Forbes rated the country as the 5th richest in the world in 2012.Photo: Getty Images
A third brother, Mohamed, was reported to loathe his brothers’ wantonness and profligacy. But when the Sultan tasked him with rebuilding the economy he and Jefri had so badly damaged, he took more than $2 billion for himself and was promptly fired.
Jefri once hid from his brother in five-star hotels around the world, and in a ploy to get him back, the Sultan reportedly held Jefri’s son Hakeem, then 25, under house arrest. A member of the Sultan’s team found this funny: “Hakeem can leave Brunei anytime he wants,” the source told Fortune. “But he wouldn’t know how to pick up the phone and take a commercial flight. So he probably feels trapped.”
Inside the harem
Two years before that, in 1997, Brunei’s long-rumored harems and sex parties were made public when Shannon Marketic, a former Miss USA, sued Jefri and the sultan. In court filings, she claimed a talent agency brokered a $3,000 a day job in Brunei, where she’d do “personal appearances and promotional work.”
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Shannon MarketicPhoto: Lasse Berre
Instead, Marketic said, she was held as a sex slave, forced to dance every night in the prince’s private disco from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., called a lady of negotiable affection and groped at random. Marketic told People magazine that she’d been drugged and molested and once back in the US sued them for $10 million, citing “mental anguish, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, other trauma.”
The brothers claimed diplomatic immunity, and the Sultan called the accusation “worse than murder.” The case was dropped.
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Marketic, center, was crowned Miss USA in 1992.Photo: AP
Lauren, who was recruited as a harem girl at just 18, doesn’t believe Marketic’s allegations. “Her description of what was going on at parties doesn’t ring true.”
Other things do. Upon landing in Brunei, Lauren says, all of the girls were forced to hand over their passports. (Marketic claimed this as well.) Lauren was told never to show her soles — an insult in Muslim countries.
She was warned to watch what she did and said at all times; surveillance was everywhere. She was to keep her weight down, and if that was a problem, there was a doctor on hand with diet pills, sleeping pills — whatever she might need.
Lauren was to bow to the royals whenever one passed, not speak unless spoken to, and at all times was to keep her head lower than Jefri’s — who demanded the girls call him Robin, a name he found more American.
He liked American cars and clothes and pop culture but had a more complicated attraction to American girls. “As the decadence increased, so did the number of Americans,” Lauren says. “He would start opening magazines and say, ‘I want that woman,’ ‘I want that one,’ and order them.”
Lauren was one of the rare Westerners who found subservience easy. “A lot of American girls had a bigger problem with it than I did,” she says. “There was one girl who was like, ‘I’m an American. I’m not bowing for anybody.’ She left after a few weeks.”
Most of the girls, she says, were Filipino or Thai, many as young as 15. “There’s no such thing as underage over there,” Lauren says.
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Jillian Lauren, the author whose best-selling book, “Some Girls: My Life in a Harem,” described her time with the Prince of Brunei.Photo: Getty Images
The girls were housed in Jefri’s palace and left to waste away until nighttime, almost never permitted to leave. Nights were spent drinking top-shelf liquor in the disco, dancing for the prince and his entourage, hoping that this one night you may be chosen — maybe alone, maybe with other girls.
“You’re out of your mind with boredom,” Lauren says. Weeks passed before she was summoned, ordered into a Mercedes-Benz and driven to an anonymous office building, where she was led into a garish suite and locked inside, alone.
“An hour passed,” she writes. “There were no books, no magazines, no television. I walked in circles. I sat back down. I looked for a bathroom. I tried the door and it was locked . . . I considered peeing in a wastebasket. I was trembling from the cold, from hunger, from nerves.”
After four hours, the prince showed up. They had sex, the prince not wearing a condom, and when he was done, “He lay beside me for exactly three seconds before slapping my ass,” and saying, “That was very nice for me. I am late for a meeting.”
Lauren says the prince never used protection and never asked her if she was on the pill or using any form of birth control. She wasn’t screened for STDs.
“It was certainly a concern,” she says. “But we didn’t talk amongst ourselves because it was a very touchy subject — who was sleeping with him when. It was adversarial.”
Lauren was considered a Jefri favorite, and her status was confirmed when Jefri passed her along to his brother, the Sultan. She was helicoptered to Malaysia with no warning, brought to a hotel suite, and left alone with the Sultan, who asked her how she liked his country and then asked for oral sex. She gave it and was dismissed, never to see him again.
“He lay beside me for exactly three seconds before slapping my ass,” and saying, “That was very nice for me. I am late for a meeting.”
“That night, Robin was eager to know if [the Sultan] had liked me,” Lauren writes. “He seemed like a little boy looking for his father’s approval.”
Her payment came in jewels, shopping sprees and stacks of cash, which she’d change to US dollars in Singapore. She stashed the bills in two money belts, wore her jewelry and slugged Jack Daniel’s as she smuggled her haul through US customs. In transit, she was no high-class hooker; just another slightly drunk conspicuous consumer.
Over three years, Lauren went back and forth to Brunei for months on end, leaving when the Prince had finally tired of her. “Robin was in London on business when I left,” she writes. “I didn’t even get to say goodbye.”
Keeping his people ignorant
In the palace, none of the girls were ever exposed to news about Brunei, and the media there is state-run.
According to a 2013 report issued by the independent watchdog organization Freedom House, journalists face up to three years in jail for “reporting ‘false and malicious’ news.”
Modal Trigger
Sultan Bolkiah in London in late October.Photo: Getty Images
Any criticism of the Sultan or the royal family is also criminal, and the government retains the right to shut down any media outlet they like. As for the web, only 60% of the population has access and it’s both restricted and monitored.
“On the international market, they can do whatever they want,” says Aslan. “Maybe the Sultan has had some great spiritual awakening — but I doubt it, because he’d do what the Koran says and give away all his money.”
Perhaps the prime motivator for the Sultan’s decree is control: maintaining power, privilege and personal excess at the expense of his country, without his countrymen’s knowledge. Tellingly, he called Islam a “firewall” against globalization — despite the all-too-worldly life he leads.
As for the outrage and celebrity-led boycotts, Aslan finds them misguided and hypocritical.
“What the Sultan is supporting for his tiny island nation is what Saudi Arabia — one of our closest allies — has been doing for decades,” he says. “Is Saudi Arabia at all paying for their human-rights violations? Of course not.”


Tried to make it more readable but kept getting kicked out of the edit so left it.

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by LizzyNY on Mon May 12 2014, 00:31

Lorna = Thanks a million for posting the article. I still don't know how (I'm an idiot when it comes to using my computer). This article made me want to print a gazillion copies and fly over Brunei dropping them from the plane. I wonder how Sharia would go over with the people if they knew how the sultan was living.

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by LornaDoone on Mon May 12 2014, 01:59

well given the penchant for cutting off the offending appendage I think we'd pretty much know what the sultan would be missing if this people ever found out about his wandering johnson.

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by LornaDoone on Wed May 14 2014, 21:37

FREAKY!!

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Pamela Anderson, Mariah Carey, Prince Azim and Faye Dunaway at the Dorchester in 2012


Prince Azim’s foray into the film business -- which includes a Hilary Swank movie shopped at Cannes -- comes as the furor over his father’s anti-gay policy heats up.


On May 16, Myriad Pictures and the producers of Hilary Swank’s inspirational drama You’re Not You will host a posh party for buyers in a villa above Cannes. But one of the film’s key players won’t be there.

Prince Azim Haji Bolkiah of Brunei, 31, is a producer involved with the London-based film company Daryl Prince Productions, whose first project is You’re Not You, an around $8 million exploration of a woman’s battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).

But the prince’s foray into Hollywood is coming at a complicated time. A decision by his father, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, to institute Sharia law in the oil-rich, largely Muslim kingdom of Brunei, has sparked outrage in the entertainment community. Under the harsh penal code, adultery and same-sex relationships are punishable by death by stoning. In Los Angeles, some industry notables and LGBT groups have responded with a boycott of the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, part of the Dorchester Group of properties, owned by the Brunei Investment Agency.


Prince Azim, who is not involved in the Dorchester Group, declined via a spokesperson to comment on the Hollywood boycott of his family’s properties. The prince has decided to keep a low profile and will skip Cannes altogether (his attendance was never confirmed, but sources say he had planned to come).

The You’re Not You soiree would have been a natural fit for Prince Azim, considering his involvement in the film business and his past penchant for glitzy gatherings. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul told Details magazine in February that he attended a 2007 birthday bash for the prince in a castle outside London, where he chased a herd of sheep with Azim, rode a hovercraft and chatted with Michael Jackson. Another birthday, the prince’s 30th, at London’s Dorchester Hotel was attended by Hollywood celebrities including Mariah Carey, Faye Dunaway and Raquel Welch.

DPP launched in fall 2012 with the aim of getting involved in all aspects of filmmaking. The company’s Joanne Podmore and Rhian Williams often travel to L.A. to pursue projects and are becoming familiar faces on the festival scene, including in Cannes.


It’s not clear whether Prince Azim is putting his own resources into DPP. A rep for the prince says he hasn’t invested in the company or its films, and he isn’t listed as a director of the company in public documents obtained by THR. DPP also is involved in Dark Places, an upcoming Charlize Theron drama. (Prince Azim is listed on IMDb as a producer on the film.)

You’re Not You is being produced by DPP in association with Di Novi Pictures and Swank’s 2S Films. A rep for Swank declined to comment.

You’re Not You, which now is completed, also stars Emmy Rossum, Josh Duhamel and Marcia Gay Harden. Kirk D’Amico’s Myriad picked up international rights to the movie earlier this year and is hosting the May 16 soiree for foreign buyers (DPP reps are expected to be there as well).

In the U.S., You’re Not You will be released by indie distributor Entertainment One. Directed by George C. Wolfe (Nights of Rodanthe), the movie revolves around a woman (Swank) who is diagnosed with ALS and hires a young caregiver (Rossum).

Prince Azim became involved with You’re Not You and Dark Places long before the current controversy erupted, and people in the film business have not tried to distance themselves from the royal due to the controversy. The Beverly Hills Hotel boycott has been pronounced in L.A., with the glitzy “Night Before” Oscar party dropping the venue and Sony Pictures, several gay-rights groups and THR all moving events from the facility. But the reaction has been more muted overseas, where the Brunei Investment Agency owns several luxury properties.

The Dorchester chain’s European hotels include the Dorchester, a regular spot for U.S. studio junkets, and the popular Paris Fashion Week destination Le Meurice, where the French film industry holds its Oscar-style awards, the Cesars. Organizers of the Cesars, which next will be held in early 2015, tell THR they have no plans to change the venue. They add that planning for the 2015 event would not start until December so it is too early to make a decision.

On the other hand, Hedi Slimane, creative director of French fashion house Saint Laurent, wrote on Facebook on May 12 that the company “cannot tolerate such repressive and anti-egalitarian laws” and “no employees of the House will stay in any Dorchester Collection properties until the Sultan of Brunei repeals such laws and positions.” Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of French fashion giant Kering, and designers Peter Som and Brian Atwood also are calling for a boycott.

“As president of Kering Foundation, which combats violence against women, I firmly condemn the Sultan of Brunei’s decision and join the boycott of his hotel properties,” wrote Pinault in a May 9 tweet.



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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by Nicky80 on Wed May 14 2014, 21:48

Yes the picture is freaky hehe. Those dodgy families always try to access Hollywood.....Wonder how his career will progress with all the boycott  Razz

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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

Post by LornaDoone on Wed May 14 2014, 22:05

Pretty poorly I think. No one in Hollywood is going to want to take money from a guy whose father wants to kill gay people.


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Re: Boycott of the Dorchester Collection Hotels

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