Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John and Billie Jean King are among celebrities to follow George Clooney’s lead in calling for a boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who on Wednesday introduced strict new laws in his country including sentences of stoning to death for adultery and homosexual sex.
Starting today, offences such as rape, robbery and defamation of the Prophet Muhammad will carry the death penalty, while theft will be punishable by amputation. Lesbian sex will carry a penalty of 40 strokes of the cane and/or a maximum of 10 years in jail, while those who “persuade, tell or encourage” Muslim children under the age of 18 “to accept the teachings of religions other than Islam” are liable for a fine or jail. Homosexuality was already illegal in the country.
The brutal new laws have sparked outrage among human rights organizations and public figures. I’m aware of at least one Hollywood firm that is considering re-routing an upcoming event at one of the Los Angeles-based hotels; the Sultan owns the Hotel Bel-Air and the iconic The Beverly Hills Hotel.
Ellen yesterday took to Twitter to support a boycott on the Brunei-backed hotels, a plea initially made by Clooney on Deadline.
Elton John also voiced his support for a ban on the Dorchester Collection hotel chain, which includes The Dorchester in London.
Tennis star and LGBT activist Billie Jean King added her voice to the campaign today…
… as did Homeland star Nimrat Kaur…
… and Beauty and the Beast and The Alienist star Luke Evans.
Today, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan confirmed that the London Underground would be removing some Brunei tourist advertisements from its network.
The Brunei Investment Agency, which owns the Dorchester Collection of hotels, today said it does “not tolerate any form of discrimination. Dorchester Collection’s code emphasises equality, respect and integrity in all areas of our operation, and strongly values people and cultural diversity amongst our guests and employees. Inclusion and diversity remain core beliefs.”