Babyface Joins Hollywood's Sultan Boycott

Producer and his fiancée change venues for their wedding amid controversy over new laws imposed by the owner of the hotel where their ceremony was scheduled.

Posted: 05/16/2014 08:04 AM EDT

The upcoming nuptials between Babyface and his fiancée, Nicole Pantenburg, will no longer take place at the Hotel Bel-Air. The producer has joined the boycott of the venue in protest of recent laws passed by the owner, the Sultan of Brunei.

Babyface revealed his engagement in February in an exclusive chat hosted by BET with his Love, Marriage & Divorce duet partner, Toni Braxton. He and Pantenburg scheduled the ceremony for this Saturday (May 17) at the luxe Beverly Hills location.

However, while the big day will continue for the couple, the new sharia-based laws, targeting women and homosexuals in the Southeast Asian nation, were enough to cause a change of plans.

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah imposed the criminal code on May 1, including punishments as harsh as death by stoning for adultery and homosexuality. Protesters believe the laws to be hypocritical at best (the Hotel Bel-Air offers same-sex wedding packages).

On May 6, members of the Beverly Hills City Council condemend the code and have attempted to compel the sultanate to divest its stake in the hotel, operated by Sultan Bolkiah's Dorchester Collection.

Millions of dollars have been lost already, and the hotel employees are being adversely affected. The Beverly Hills Bar Association and many more celebrities, including Jay Leno and Kim Kardashian, have joined the protest as well.

Kardashian, for example, was scheduled to have her bridal shower there last weekend, but changed plans due to the controversy.

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 (Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

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