George Clooney calls for boycott of the Sultan of Brunei's hotels after country introduces death penalty for gay sex

Ben Arnold
Contributor
George Clooney (Credit: PA)

George Clooney has called for a boycott of the Sultan of Brunei’s hotels after the nation introduced new laws punishing gay sex by death.

From April 3, it will be a capital offence for Muslims in the sultanate to engage in either adultery or gay sex, with the punishment being either stoning or whipping to death.

Clooney is calling for the boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan, one of the world’s richest men, including The Dorchester in London, and The Bel-Air and Beverly Hills hotels in Los Angeles.

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In an open letter published on Deadline, he said: “On… April 3rd the nation of Brunei will begin stoning and whipping to death any of its citizens that are proved to be gay. Let that sink in. In the onslaught of news where we see the world backsliding into authoritarianism this stands alone.”

Clooney admits to having stayed at the hotels in the past, but adds ‘because I hadn’t done my homework and didn’t know who owned them’.

“They’re nice hotels. The people who work there are kind and helpful and have no part in the ownership of these properties,” he goes on.

The Dorchester (Credit: Flickr)

“But let’s be clear, every single time we stay at or take meetings at or dine at any of these nine hotels we are putting money directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery.

“Brunei is a Monarchy and certainly any boycott would have little effect on changing these laws. But are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations? Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?

“I’ve learned over years of dealing with murderous regimes that you can’t shame them. But you can shame the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with them and choose to look the other way.”

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A boycott of the hotel group, which also includes Cowarth Park in the UK, Le Meurice in Paris, and the Hotel Eden in Rome, was called for in 2014, when the Sultan began plans for a three-year introduction of many of the most radical aspects of Sharia law.

The likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Sir Richard Branson were vocal supporters of the boycott, while the Beverly Hills City Council urged the Sultan to sell the hotel.

According to reports, that boycott resulted in more than $2 million worth of events booked to happen at the hotel being cancelled.

Amnesty International has called for Brunei to ‘immediately halt’ the new penalties.