May 29, 2014 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media
Prominent leaders in the fashion industry are speaking out against the Sultan of Brunei and his new draconian penal code reforms that could lead to the violent repression of women and LGBT citizens.
Anna Wintour, arguably one of the most powerful figures in the industry, recently announced that she and American Vogue editors would not stay at the Sultan’s Le Meurice property while in Paris for upcoming fashion shows.
“I cannot in all good conscience stay there, nor can Vogue’s editors,” Wintour told The New York Times.
Since news broke of Brunei’s decision to begin implementing a new series of laws that could lead to the stoning of women and LGBT Bruneians, the Sultan’s hotels in California have seen a dramatic decrease in business. In addition, other hotels around the world that he and his Brunei Investment Agency own--which are part of the Dorchester Collection--are being impacted as well.
Wintour joins other prominent citizens, civil rights organizations, elected officials, as well as leaders in business and philanthropy, in a collective vow to avoid the Sultan’s properties.
The Dorchester Collection has shamefully attempted to deflect criticism by using its own employees to divert attention away from the Sultan and his policies. The company has paraded its employees and their stories––some of whom would be subjected to these new laws if they lived in Brunei––on social media and for members of the press. This news comes amid promises from its leadership that it will “protect” its employees from these actions, and that their jobs, salaries, and income from tips won't be affected moving forward.
Most have seen through the smokescreen. Join HRC in condemnation of the Sultan of Brunei.
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