George Clooney calls for hotels boycott over Brunei’s anti-LGBT laws

Three of the Sultan of Brunei’s hotel’s are in the UK.
Three of the Sultan of Brunei’s hotel’s are in the UK.

George Clooney has called for a boycott of luxury hotels owned by Brunei after the tiny oil-rich nation announced new laws making homosexual acts and adultery punishable by death.

From April 3 in Brunei, a south-east Asian country with a population of about 430,000, anyone found guilty of homosexuality or cheating on their spouse could be whipped or stoned.

The laws, as part of the country’s interpretation of Sharia Law, also introduce amputation of the hands or feet as punishment for robbery, according to an announcement by the country’s attorney general.

George Clooney
George Clooney has called for a boycott of Brunei-owned hotels (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Brunei, which gained independence from the UK in 1984, is headed by the Sultan of Brunei and through its investment agency owns nine exclusive hotels, three of which are in the UK.

Hollywood star Clooney has called for a boycott.

Writing in Deadline, he said: “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.

“Brunei is a Monarchy and certainly any boycott would have little effect on changing these laws. But are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations?

“Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens? I’ve learned over years of dealing with murderous regimes that you can’t shame them. But you can shame the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with them and choose to look the other way.”

The Brunei Investment Agency, through the Dorchester Collection, owns London’s The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane as well as Coworth Park in Berkshire.

Two of Hollywood’s best-known hotels, The Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills, are also under its control.

Clooney admitted he had stayed at some of the hotels “recently”, saying he was unaware of their ownership.

It is not the first time Hollywood has attempted to boycott the hotels for Brunei’s treatment of the LGBT community.

In 2014, when the country announced it was implementing Shariah Law, activists demanded stars stop attending Brunei-owned hotels and Clooney said a fundraising event usually held at the Beverly Hills Hotel was cancelled.

However, Clooney said the boycott lost steam.

“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”, he said.

The Dorchester Collection has been contacted for comment.