Russell Crowe Opposes Beverly Hills Hotel Boycott, Says It’s Hurting His “Friends”

Les Miserables - World PremiereOscar-winning actor Russell Crowe has publicly come out against a boycott of the Dorchester Collection hotels, which are currently being boycotted by celebrities such as Ellen Degeneres, Richard Branson, Kim Kardashian and Jay Leno, and brands such as Virgin and ABC.

Notable celebs began backing the boycott with fervor and cautioning people against staying at the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel after the chain’s owner, the Sultan of Brunei, introduced Sharia Penal Code in Brunei, which supports the stoning of convicted homosexuals to death.

“No @Virgin employee, nor our family, will stay at Dorchester Hotels until the Sultan abides by basic human rights,” Virgin founder and staunch LGBT ally Richard Branson tweeted this month.

But that’s not how you protest antigay legislation in Brunei, according to Russell Crowe. Boycotting a hotel in Hollywood will only hurt his hard-working “friends.”

The 50-year-old actor spilled his truth tea on Twitter Monday:

We saw how little an organized boycott would influence foreign policy during the Winter Olympics earlier this year, but there are countless other instances where protesting private businesses can lead to real change.

In the case of the Beverly Hills Hotel, does Russell Crowe have a point?

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  • DB75

    Does Russell have a point?

    Yes, and no. It’s not a simple clear cut issue. The reality is that regardless, someone will end up hurt. Be it the employees of the hotel, or LGBT persons. He has a choice to not boycott. Doesn’t mean others shouldn’t boycott.

    In situations like this, one has to look at the less of two evils – being hurting innocent employees just seeking a working wage and the stoning to death of gay persons. In my opinion, saving a life is more important. But, then again, I am biased to this whole mess.

  • Cam

    Yeah Russell, lets not worry about all of the people that will now be arrested and murdered in Brunei, lets just keep on pouring money into the Sultan’s pocket.

    If other international business conglomerates start refusing to do business with the Sultan because of their fear of boycotts it WILL effect his bottom line and that is the most important thing to him.

  • gskorich

    he does have a point. it’s a place of business and if people are boycotting then chances are the employees who rely on tips will be affected.

    does that mean people shouldn’t boycott the collection because of the owner? the boycott probably won’t sent his wallet too much and I’m not sure how much of the day to day operations he is aware of since it’s his investment arm that owns the hotels.

    Russell Crowe will need to go to the hotel and volunteer to pay the employee any and all lost wages.

  • xzall

    @gskorich: I don’t think the boycott is as much about wallet as it is about the publicity it generates. There are a lot of people who’re unaware of what’s happening in Brunei and the boycott brings the story to the forefront. If someone’s favorite celebrity is out there protesting or boycotting they can influence millions of people worldwide.

    The boycott may not put a dent in the wallet of the owners but it does tarnish the brand.

  • Lvng1tor

    I don’t shop at Walmart, Urban Outfitters,Papa Johns etc…because of their politics and the way they treat their employees. I try to be as informed as possible. Am I also hurting the employees of those companies. Are the people who work at the BHH forced to work there? Do I not have a right to say “I will not, knowingly, give my hard earned money to a company owned by a man that restricts and horribly punishes individual freedoms thru sharia law.”

    I hate this whole debate over the word “boycott” It’s about knowledge and personal responsibility. You can either spend your money someplace or not for a variety of reasons and personal beliefs. This is no different just cause Jay Leno and Russel Crowe are involved.

  • BitterOldQueen

    @DB75: I generally agree with the lives-vs-dollars valuation, but I’m not sure that’s the case here. Will my (or Russel Crowe) not staying at a tony Beverly Hills hotel, the cashflow from which doubtlessly represents a tiny drop in the vast ocean of petrodollars held by the Sultan, influence religiously-inspired antigay legislation in his (literally “his”) country? While it might make me smugly satisfied to not support him, I don’t see how the boycott will save one gay life in Brunei. If everyone stopped staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and it closed, it would still be irrelevant to the Sultan’s wealth, would not stop the law, and would result in hundreds of low-wage workers being out on the street.

    It’s not even the same as a Wal-Mart or Chik-Fil-A boycott, where concerted local action can make a dent in cashflows and where the targets take public relations bruises seriously.

    So no, I don’t think this is a case of balancing life versus wages. Brunei will listen to a cessation of weapons sales, or legislated trade reductions, or even international condemnation; it won’t listen to a handfull of celebs and richies who decide to stay at some other five-star hotel.

  • Cam


    International investment groups are very very risk adverse. What this will do is scare off other folks from pulling the Sultan into their investments because they don’t want to risk a boycott.

  • WuzUpYall

    Poor Russell, his opinion is very important to him.

  • BitterOldQueen

    @Cam: Great point, although I think in this case the holding in question is so small that the risk factor is minimal; if we were boycotting Bruneian(?) oil or whatever else they export (sand?) that might be more relevant. However, I’m with you IF the BHH boycott receives a tipping-point level of notoriety and press…could be pressure then. That still doesn’t help the US citizens who lose their jobs because of backass religious laws in Brunei.

  • sfbeast

    For me, boycotting the Beverly Hills Hotel isn’t really part of my life. It’s like saying I’m boycotting Tiffany or Prada or Lamborghini’s. But when celebs say they refuse to do it, I’m guessing it’s because they don’t want to lose the perks they get from hotels that want their business. But I agree with other comments that it will have next to no effect financially on the Pooh Bah of Brunei, but it is a form of anti-homophobic publicity.

  • gskorich

    @xzall: the boycott itself is not about the wallet but what russell crowe is saying is.

  • BJ McFrisky

    Why stop with Dorchester? Why not boycott all middle-eastern and African countries that enforce Sharia law? Are people that cowardly in choosing their battles that they only target the mega-rich?

  • Sansacro

    @BitterOldQueen: You don’t seem to understand. A boycott IS NOT ABOUT MONEY, it is about hurting the brand by associating it with controversy. Case in point, my good friend is the editor in chief of a luxury trade magazine. In his current issue, he was supposed to feature the hotel, but told the PR people that the brand is too “hot” and controversial so they would not be covering it. The PR people tried to push back by saying “a lot of countries have these laws.” My friend, who is gay, was like, “really, that’s your defense.”

  • KM201

    “We saw how little an organized boycott would influence foreign policy during the Winter Olympics earlier this year, but there are countless other instances where protesting private businesses can lead to real change.”

    We knew that our boycott wasn’t going to change the policy. The Olympics committee was bribed from millions of dollars of Russian investors money. They weren’t changing the venue so close to the start of the games, but we did make a significant impact on not only the future of gay rights, but also the future of the Olympics themselves and the corporations that sponsored it.

    The rioting in Brazil will potentially ruin the upcoming World Cup and potentially cost the Olympics committee millions of dollars as a result of having to change the venue. The Fukushima nuclear reactor dilemma may make the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo impossible to play in by the time it rolls around. The outstanding financial costs on host cities to host the games without outside assistance may dissuade future games from taking place in most struggling cities around the world. The more that these problems arise in the press, and the more that the Olympic committee members are exposed for corruption/fraud like they were approaching Sochi, the less likely that the Olympic games will take place at all. By throwing our community under the bus in order to support Hitler 2.0/The Third Antichrist in Vladmir Putin, we’ve potentially thrown powerful karmic energy back at them that will stop the Games from ever taking place again. We lost so little in retrospect, yet we’ve gained so much overall in the larger picture. On the flip side, they’ve lost so much with the international community turning on them and the final realization that Russia is a nazi state. That, to me anyway, is a victory for our cause and a major defeat for Russia and for the Olympic games.

    In addition to this point, every one of the Olympic sponsors has seen massive financial anarchy in the last several months. McDonald’s, Visa, Samsung, Panasonic, Proctor and Gamble, Coca Cola, GE and Comcast, among a number of other sponsors, have all had major problems in the news these past few months. McDonald’s, in particular, is on the verge of collapse with these recent fast food worker strikers, their censorship of their shareholder meetings and their profits plummeting at an alarming rate. If McDonald’s and the other sponsors of the Sochi Games fall into an economic abyss, our community needs to be pointing this out as a message to other brands that participate in the global marketplace. If you support anti-gay bigotry, you will fail in your overall sustainability for doing so. That will spook these corporate types (who are greedy and only obsessed with money) from supporting anti-gay bigotry in other parts of the world in the future.

    The lesson from the Beverly Hills hotel Brunei scandal should be two fold. First, we must make it very clear that anyone who aids (in any way) in the anti-gay corruption and the establishment of sharia law around the world will be punished for doing so. The victims that Russell Crowe (the notoriously violent and hostile to his fans jerk of a person) is showing sympathy for do not deserve this sympathy in the slightest. If they can sleep well at night knowing that their employment aids in the persecution of women and gays in the Middle East and Africa, then they don’t deserve anyone’s pity when their callousness and heartlessness results in their own deserved unemployment. Their lack of morals caused this mess that they created for themselves, not our refusal to fork over our pocket book money to the Insultin Sultan from Brunei of Lies.

    The second point that is necessary to make is that our world is a global community. That doesn’t mean that we should be meddling in everyone else’s affairs and starting wars for profit. This is to say that the actions of our bigoted neighbors must have consequences that reverberate globally. Despite the distance in miles we have between gays and lesbians overseas and here at home, we are all part of the human condition and we are all one. If we do not show solidarity for the people abroad, then how can we expect anyone to show solidarity for us here at times of great peril (and their are plenty….just ask Occupy Wall Street rape victim Cecily McMillan). Doing the right thing means sending a message in any way that we can. We may not win every civil rights battle every time we take on one, but we will win the war incrementally and over time.

    My point can be summed up by saying screw what Crowe and those who support him have to say. We didn’t get to where we are today by listening to detractors and nay sayers. We did so by bucking convention and taking major risks. Dan Choi is an example of the right thing to do, as it often squares in the face of the status quo. ;)

  • Polaro

    Eh, tempest in a tea pot.

  • AxelDC

    Being an actor, Crowed doesn’t have to know basic economics. If someone doesn’t use your hotel, what do they do? Do they sleep in the streets? Of course not.

    They go to use another hotel, preferable one that does support the execution of gays.

    See, the way boycotts work isn’t that you stop using products; you use substitutions. If you don’t buy Russian vodka, you can buy Swedish, Dutch or French vodka. If you don’t eat at Chik-fil-a, you can eat chicken at Boston Market. If you don’t shop at Walmart, you can shop at Costco or Amazon.com.

    The workers hurt by the boycott are balanced out by the workers at the non-boycotted business. It’s the business owner who suffers the most, as a hotel employee can move to another hotel when his bigoted business files for bankruptcy.

  • BitterOldQueen

    @Sansacro: Oh I do actually understand boycotts, dear. My point about money is that that a boycott is only effective if there’s financial hurt for the boycottee (either directly through the activity itself, or indirectly through bad PR), and in this case I don’t think the Sultan cares whether or not anyone goes to his little hotel interest. A bunch of celebs wearing boycott ribbons or whatever and being extensively covered by gay websites, NPR, HuffPost and MSNBC is unlikely to change the opinions of an unthinkably wealthy, autocratic religious zealot. To hit the Sultan where hit hurts requires pressure on governments and institutions–a somewhat more demanding activity than proudly not doing something. And in fact, in this case, the boycott (to borrow your all-caps) IS ABOUT MONEY to the US citizens who will lose their jobs, and the Sultan won’t care about that, either. Anyway, I think that’s Crowe’s point, and it’s not altogether wrong.

  • BitterOldQueen

    @AxelDC: Tell the single mom who makes up beds and cleans toilets at the Sultan’s hotel that her unemployment is made up for by the hotel’s customer base staying at any of the 62 other luxury hotels in LA. I’m sure that will help. Dickens called it “telescopic philanthropy” when people were very, deeply concerned about the (true and bad) plight of others in faraway lands, and less so about the children sleeping on their front doorsteps. In some ways, this is that.

  • Daniel-Reader

    So they know some secret about him staying there and he doesn’t want it leaked? That’s what it sounds like. The people who really have a challenge are the LGBTA people who work at airports who do air traffic and who fuel and maintainence the planes of genocidal dictators. Those workers have to decide whether to mindlessly do their job or simply punish the genocidal dictators. It would be poetic for a dictator wanting to stone LGBTA people to have their plane slam into a stone mountain. That’s why the most important thing is not what corrupt government officials do. It’s what the people they harm do in response. I guess the LGBTA community should just start discussing the proper response to officials who commit genocidal mass human rights violations.

  • DCFarmboi

    It only hurts the hard working staff who I consider friends? What bullshit. The company busted the staff’s union and took away their workplace rights. Where was he then? What a liar.

  • Kieran

    Nothing sends a message like withholding your business and ostracizing an owner. Money talks.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Cam: Your obsession with me is truly beginning to creep me out. Please restrict your comments to the topic of the article, and don’t use them for lashing out at those with whom you disagree. I believe Queerty’s editors would agree with me on this.

  • DuMaurier

    There’s a difference between a ‘protest’ and a ‘boycott’. The first is action to shine a light on injustice, the second is an economic strategy to force change. Protests–online petitions, picketing, etc–can be done impulsively and without necessarily having an end game in sight. But historically, boycotts are planned, considered efforts undertaken only after hard-headed calculating on the chance of success–because the traditional view is that a failed boycott is worse than nothing at all, and only strengthens the side of injustice.

    So which is this? So far, I don’t know. If it has the onerous economic effects some posters here are saying it will–and it works–it’s right and necessary. If the Sultan bows to the pressure and rescinds these laws (or at least divests from the corporation) no one can argue with the effort. But I don’t know how likely that is, and honestly, the feel I get from this is that the ‘boycott’ was jumped into without any serious strategizing. A bunch of rich people saying “I won’t stay at that hotel!” is NOT a true boycott unless it ripples out into solidarity from contractors, suppliers, investors, etc. But at any rate, I hope for the best.

  • hotboyvb81

    was it at a Dorchester Hotel that Russell threw a phone at an employee????

  • Chevelter

    Thank you Russell Crowe. Finally, some common sense here.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    Your comment is incorrect, I merely pointed out that you have always defended anti-gay bigots.

  • Cam


    So we should never ever complain about bigotry because we might put the maids who work for the bigots out of business?

    Did you even read what you wrote?

  • xzall

    From what I’ve read the hotel had no problem laying off over 300 union workers in 2009 when they temporarily shut down for renovations and 2 years later went with totally new non union hires leaving all those low wage workers out of jobs.

    Russell Crowe was strangely quiet about those workers rights to a job then so it’s hard to take his current concerns seriously.

  • denvermtnbiker

    He has a respectable point. Considering everything, I think I still support the boycott, but I agree that it may harm the hotel’s LGBT-friendly employees. It’s similar to the question of whether the Clippers should be protested, when clearly the racism is at the top, not among the employees.

  • Mezaien

    Russell, go suck eggs, take Mell Gibson, with you bloody Australians.

  • darrylsg

    Russell Crowe should tell his FRIENDS to look for other work, leave their jobs for better jobs with better employers. If I was working there, I’d truly want to LEAVE/Quit, because I do NOT want to support such as asshole with discriminatory laws! That is the best way…when he has NO staff, then it will hurt him more!

  • cbradleywriter

    Yes. This is why Martin Luther King’s bus boycott was so deeply immoral. Did he ever stop to think of those bus drivers’ JOBS? THAT was what was important. Not black people being murdered. Not civil rights. Sure, gay people will be put to death and live under the constant threat of death, but think of the American waiters!! We MUST keep the Sultan’s money purse bulging. No matter what!

  • rickhfx

    I am less concerned with a few Americans loosing their jobs, then people over there loosing their lives, job loss with a safety net or loss of life, easy choice. Some privileged str8 people don’t want to face the awful truth, that gay people understand all too well.

  • Atomicrob

    Mr. Crow has come a long way since he threw a phone at a clerk in a SoHo hotel in June of 2005 when his call wouldn’t go through to his wife … I guess he spends his time trying to make nice to bell hops and concierges to prove he’s reformed… ~:>}

  • tricky ricky

    maybe it’s the only hotel he isn’t banned from for beating people up with telephones.

Comments are closed.