Hollywood star George Clooney admitted that he stayed at many of the hotels because “I hadn’t done my homework and didn’t know who owned them”. Now, he has called for a boycott of these luxury hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei in response to news that adultery and gay sex in that country will be subject to death by stoning. The strict Syariah law has been on hold for four years amid heavy criticism.
The law applies to only Muslims.
In a guest column published on film website Deadline.com on Thursday (March 28), Clooney listed the names of nine five-star hotels in England, France, Italy and California, all owned by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s Brunei Investment Agency. Among those hotels is the exclusive Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.
“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,” the Oscar-winning actor wrote. From April 3, people in Brunei who engage in same-sex activity can be flogged and stoned to death.
Consenting same-sex relations are already punishable by 10 years imprisonment under Brunei’s existing penal code.
Noting that it is hard to get the decision-makers to change their minds, Clooney said: “But you can shame the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with them and choose to look the other way.”
This would not be the first boycott targeting the Brunei-owned luxury hotels.
In 2014, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres supported such action after the country cracked down on gay and lesbian behaviour.