Sunday, July 21, 2024

Beverly Hills Hotel Boycott Softening a Year Later: Russell Crowe, Sean Penn Among Those Who’ve Returned


It’s almost a year since the start of the boycott of the famed and beloved historic Beverly Hills Hotel. In that time, long time regulars like Clive Davis and Graydon Carter have gone elsewhere. The Night Before gala has relocated to the Fox lot. For a while, it was anathema to go to the Polo Lounge for a drink. The protest was based on the edict of the hotel’s owner, the Sultan of Brunei, who enacted severe anti-gay policies– known as Sharia– in his country.

But now things are changing. Oscar winner Russell Crowe, sources say, has been staying there for the last month. He’s been seen working out in the gym. Celebrity sightings are rampant. Sean Penn has been spotted at the BHH. So have Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Calls to to the hotel spokesperson haven’t been returned, but a top level source confirmed that a “number of celebrities have returned.” The hotel and the Polo Lounge, according to many, are “packed.” Last month the local neighborhood association from Coldwater Canyon had a meeting there with many celebs in attendance.

Earlier this month, Los Angeles Confidential magazine went ahead with a party at the pink palace. John Legend declined to appear or perform, but the party went on with mostly C list celebrities.

Now, the word is that one high profile studio exec has proposed donating $1 million to gay organizations in exchange for lifting the industry wide ban.

Would it work? A lot of former regulars feel sympathetic toward the long suffering hotel staff. They have nothing to do with Sharia and need to make a living. Is a year long enough punishment? The story is not over…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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