Prestigious magazine awards snubs Dorchester Hotel due to Brunei’s death-by-stoning law for gays

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The British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) has announced it will not stage its awards dinner at a London hotel owned by the Sultan of Brunei – due to his country’s new rules on stoning to death people who are gay.

As part of his Dorchester Collection, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah owns The Dorchester on Park Lane.

In a letter sent to its members on Thursday, the BSME said: “It is no secret that, after many successful years at The Hilton Park Lane, we felt the time had come for a change of scene – to that effect, we had signed an agreement to host this year’s event at The Dorchester hotel.

“The BSME committee had very much been looking forward to the event, which would have been the first time we had held the awards at The Dorchester.

“It has, however, been impossible for us to ignore the recent introduction of draconian new laws imposed by the Sultan of Brunei, the owner of The Dorchester Collection, relating to those involved in same sex or adulterous relationships.

“There has been much disquiet among the BSME committee regarding the news, to the extent that it was the clear majority view that we simply cannot, with a clear conscience, host an event that represents the magazine industry at the hotel. We have, therefore, taken the decision to withdraw from our agreement with The Dorchester.”

The BSME Awards Dinner will now take place at a different venue on 17 November.

Last month, the Sultan of Brunei gave approval to Brunei’s new penal code, which urges death by stoning for same-sex sexual activity.

The previous sentence for those convicted had been 10 years in jail.

A string of celebrities, including Ellen DegeneresStephen Fry and Sharon Osbourne, began a boycott campaign against the hotel chain, famous for its Beverly Hills venue.

Beverly Hills council asked the Sultan to sell his Beverly Hills hotel because of his support for the draconian legislation.

Earlier this week, Kim Kardashian became the latest figure to snub The Dorchester Collection.