Clooney Wants Boycott of 9 Brunei-Related Hotels Over Laws for Stoning Gays to Death
George Clooney is calling for the boycott of nine prominent hotels with ties to the sultan of Brunei, which next month will implement Islamic criminal laws to punish gay sex by whipping or stoning offenders to death.
In a guest column in the online news outlet Deadline, with which Clooney has a long relationship, the actor wrote:
“Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?”
Brunei isn’t a significant country. Its population is less than 500,000 people, pretty small in relation to most of its neighbors, The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia. But Brunei has oil. This year it was ranked as the 5th richest nation by Forbes. Good for them. Of course they haven’t had an election since 1962 and have adopted the most extreme version of Sharia law so, not so good for them. At the head of it all is the Sultan of Brunei who is one of the richest men in the world. The Big Kahuna. He owns the Brunei Investment Agency and they in turn own some pretty spectacular hotels.
A couple of years ago two of those hotels in Los Angeles, The Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills Hotel were boycotted by many of us for Brunei’s treatment of the gay community. It was effective to a point. We cancelled a big fundraiser for the Motion Picture Retirement Home that we’d hosted at the Beverly Hills Hotel for years. Lots of individuals and companies did the same. But like all good intentions when the white heat of outrage moves on to the hundred other reasons to be outraged, the focus dies down and slowly these hotels get back to the business of business. And the Brunei Investment Agency counts on that. They own nine of the most exclusive hotels in the world. Full disclosure: I’ve stayed at many of them, a couple of them recently, 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. 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.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah rules the oil-rich monarchy with full executive authority, and the hotels are owned by the Brunei Investment Agency.
The nine hotels named by Clooney are as follows:
- The Dorchester, London
- 45 Park Lane, London
- Coworth Park, UK
- The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills
- Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
- Le Meurice, Paris
- Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris
- Hotel Eden, Rome
- Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan
Brunei intends to implement the relevant laws on April 3.
In 2014, Brunei became the first East Asian country to adopt Islamic Sharia law despite widespread condemnation.