Vogue editor Anna Wintour won’t be staying at one of her favorite hotels in July during the Paris couture shows, Le Meurice—and it’s for a good reason—she’s supporting gay rights.
Le Meurice, part of the Dorchester Collection group of hotels, which also includes The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles and The Dorchester in London are owned by the Sultan of Brunei’s investment agency. And in April, The Sultan announced that he plans to implement Sharia law, making homosexuality punishable in Brunei with death by stoning—a move that isn’t exactly easy for most people to stomach.
Wintour told The New York Times: “While I am sensitive to the potential impact that this issue may have on the wonderful staff at Le Meurice, I cannot in all good conscience stay there, nor can Vogue’s editors.”
This isn’t the first time that Wintour has taken a stand for gay rights. Her first tweet, made on Vogue’s Twitter feed, was a statement about how happy she was about the Supreme Court’s decision that the federal same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. “Today’s rulings are a big step forward for all Americans striving to achieve equality. I couldn’t be happier or more proud. —A.W.” she tweeted on June 26, 2013.
Wintour isn’t the only fashion power playing joining the Dorchester Collection boycott either. Kering (the parent company of brands like Gucci and Saint Laurent) chairman François-Henri Pinault said: “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.” Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno have also expressed their outrage.
A spokesperson for the Dorchester Collection released a statement saying: “While we recognise people’s concerns, we believe this boycott should not be directed to our hotels and dedicated employees. The impact of this not only affects our loyal team members but extends to the local community, our valued partners and suppliers as all profits from Dorchester Collection continue to be re-invested into the hotels, their people and communities. This has been the case since the company was founded in 2006.”
To be noted, not everyone is behind the boycott, with some arguing that it won’t impact the Sultan of Brunei (who is worth a reported $20 billion) but rather the people who work at his hotels. Russell Crowe tweeted: I don’t agree with the boycotting of Dorchester Collection hotels. It only hurts the hard working staff who I consider friends.”