Ellen DeGeneres, Billie Jean King and George Clooney are among those sharing the list of international hotels
BY LUCY KNIGHT
Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres and Billie Jean King are encouraging their followers to boycott hotels owned by Brunei’s monarch, Hassanal Bolkiah.
This comes after new laws were effected on Wednesday in the south-east Asian country, punishing gay sex and adultery by stoning.
George Clooney, 57, was the first celebrity to speak out, in his guest column on Deadline Hollywood.
The American actor wrote: “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 laws in question are new sections of Brunei’s sharia penal code, established in 2014 by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah with an aim to increase the influence of Islam.
However, even before 2014, homosexuality was illegal and punishable by prison sentence. The sharia penal code initially increased the severity of punishments for offences such as pregnancy out of wedlock or failing to pray on Fridays.
This latest addition to the law is the most severe yet: those proved to be gay or adulterers can be stoned to death or whipped, and thieves face amputation of limbs.
The laws apply to everyone – to varying degrees – including children and non-Muslims.
While having a population of just 430,000 people, the largely Islamic country Brunei is powerful due to its oil supply, and was listed the fifth richest nation by Forbes.
The Brunei Investment Agency, which has ties to the Sultan, owns nine exclusive hotels which Clooney has urged customers to boycott.
Gay rights icon Ellen DeGeneres shared Clooney’s list of hotels on twitter, urging followers to boycott with the words: “Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up.”
LGBTQI activist and former tennis star Billie Jean King also shared the list:
“Please join me and spread the word about the boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei.”
Clooney’s full list of the nine hotels to boycott is 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
Responding to the news, The Dorchester Collection tweeted, “in light of recent events”:
Protests have also been organised in response.
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