Ruffian’s Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, who have now gone bi-coastal and opened an office in Los Angeles, write in with their unusual take on the industry-wide boycott on the Dorcester Collection hotels, which are owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who has implemented sharia law in his country. Why are the designers skipping the boycott and supporting the Beverly Hills Hotel? They explain, with a little help from Rose McGowan…
“One of the best parts of spending time in L.A. has been getting closer to our dear friend Rose McGowan, who, in addition to her better known acting work, has long been a highly vocal and dedicated advocate of human (and animal) rights. Last Monday we spent our weekly lunch with Rose at the Chateau Marmont, lamenting the current state of affairs at The Beverly Hill Hotel, which is now being shunned in response to the Sultan of Brunai’s heinous expansion of sharia law in his home nation. As we thought further about the boycott, however, we concluded that the hotel’s wonderful employees, now struggling to pay rent, and our fabulous gay brothers and sisters, currently unable to linger in their bikinis by the pool or to sip Moscow Mules at the Polo Lounge, were likely experiencing more boycott-induced pain than the Sultan himself. We concluded, and Rose eloquently stated in the invitation to the event the below as to why that the boycott was ineffective for two reasons:
1) Boycotts work when they impact the bottom line and cause true economic hardship. The Sultan of Brunei, having a net worth of over $20 billion, is probably not experiencing economic pain from a dip in cocktail sales.
2) This boycott is badly hurting the innocent employees who are reliant on tips. Rose, like us, has been close to many of the employees at BH for a long time; it kills us to think that Ruth, a waitress in the Fountain Cafe, can’t pay her rent because of the boycott. So, ensconced in the tapestry of our hidden banquette, we concocted a plan to go Ruffian/Punk on the situation in the tradition of our radical Act Up forefathers. How much more of a point can we make by putting a face on different kinds of love. Just by being us! And drinking! So, in the great tradition of civil rights sit-ins, we congregated at the Bar Nineteen12 on Wednesday, festooned with our gay pride beads, flags, and ribbons for an old fashion kiss-in. The staff could not have been more grateful. This was the first of what we hope will be many #TakeBackBHH sit-ins on Wednesday nights, and we hope to continue to build on and expand the group of men and women (and hopefully some adulteresses participating). In other words, a crew that would be stoned in Brunei but that should be welcome at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Brunei already hurt Hollywood history by buying the BH Hotel; let’s not let him crush our history by having it go out of business!