George Clooney promises to keep pressure on Brunei over gay sex death penalty

Ben Arnold
Contributor
George Clooney (Credit: Getty)

The Sultan of Brunei has said that plans to bring in the death penalty for gay sex will not be enforced, after the new legislation was strongly condemned worldwide.

But George Clooney, who was among the most vocal opposers of the legislation, has said that he will keep up pressure on the country, which introduced new laws punishing sodomy, adultery and rape with penalties such as death by stoning.

The United Nations condemned the move, as well as high profile gay celebrities like Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres.

Read more: Elton John backs Brunei hotels boycott

Calls were made for people boycott hotels owned by the Sultan, including the Dorchester in London, Le Meurice in Paris and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

In a statement, Clooney called the move ‘a huge step forward after a giant leap backwards’.

“It promises that the citizens of Brunei won’t be executed for being gay,” he said.


“It also sends a very crucial message to countries like Indonesia and Malaysia that there is a cost for enacting these laws. And the cost isn’t folks boycotting their hotels.

“The cost is that corporations and big banks won’t do business with you. The financial institutions stepping up had a huge impact.

“Having said that, the law to stone their citizens is still in place. Meaning that as soon as the pressure dies down they could simply start the process of carrying out executions. So in reference to the boycott everyone should do what they feel is correct.

Read more: Clooney calls for boycott of Sultan of Brunei’s hotels

“For my family and me we simply can’t walk away until this draconian law is no longer on the books.”

Responding to the international outcry, which saw bodies like the Police Federation of England and Wales and the UK Health and Safety Executive breaking links with the country, the Sultan penned a letter to the European Parliament, saying that a moratorium on the death penalty would be extended.

“I am aware that there are many questions and misperceptions with regard to the implementation of the [sharia penal code order]. However, we believe that once these have been cleared, the merit of the law will be evident,” he said.