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Jay Leno joins protesters outside Beverly Hills Hotel to denounce anti-gay Islamic law in Brunei

Jay Leno joins protesters outside Beverly Hills Hotel to denounce anti-gay Islamic law in Brunei

Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno stepped back into the limelight Monday (5 May) to join a demonstration across from The Beverly Hills Hotel protesting human rights violations the Sultan of Brunei.

The landmark hotel, home to many high-profile events each year, is owned by the Sultan of Brunei who has imposed a series of Islamic criminal punishments that include stoning gay people to death.

‘What year is this? 1814? Come on people, it’s 2014,’ Leno said.

The venue is quickly losing bookings including tonight’s Global Women’s Rights Awards which have relocated to Westwood and next year’s gathering of the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

In making clear it is the hotel’s owner being protested and not the hotel’s employees, Leno used the example of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling who was banned from the NBA last week for racist comments.

‘Let’s put it in perspective. The people in the Beverly Hills Hotel are the Clippers. The Sultan is Sterling,’ Leno said. ‘We don’t blame anyone who works at the hotel. They’re just the Clippers players, they’re doing their game.’

Variety reports that Leno became involved through his activist wife, Mavis Leno, who also spoke at the rally. Other speakers included Feminist Majority’s Kathy Spiller and Eleanor Smeal, labor activist Dolores Huerta and Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center CEO Lorri Jean.

Jean told the crowd: ‘Today is not just about opposition to the Sultan and his barbarism. It’s about taking a stand against the religious intolerance and bigotry masquerading as religious freedom that destroys people’s lives. It’s not OK in Brunei, or Beverly Hills, or Pasadena or Los Angeles. And we must do more to stop it.’

Over the weekend, Virgin’s founder and CEO Richard Branson announced employees of his company will boycott Dorchester Hotel Group, owned by the Sultan.