TV Choice Awards boycotts Dorchester Hotel over Brunei anti-LGBT laws

A number of celebrities have spoken out against the new laws in the south-east Asian country.
A number of celebrities have spoken out against the new laws in the south-east Asian country.

The TV Choice Awards will not take place at The Dorchester Hotel this year amid a boycott of Brunei-owned hotels over the country’s anti-LGBT laws, organisers have said.

The event has joined the growing movement against hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei in response to the nation’s new Islamic criminal laws punishing gay sex by stoning offenders to death.

The TV ceremony has taken place at the luxury hotel on London’s Park Lane every year, but will now be moved to another location.

A message on TV Choice magazine’s official Twitter page said: “The 2019 TV Choice Awards will not be held at The Dorchester Hotel. This year’s venue will be announced in due course.”

Former Coronation Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh had previously called for the event to change its venue, tweeting: “Brunei is about to start stoning #LGBT citizens to death. We need to start boycotting their hotels, listed below. Starting with @TVChoiceAwards. Pls don’t hold it at the Dorchester.”

She later tweeted “excellent” in response to the news.

The new laws in the south-east Asian country came into effect on April 3 amid an international outcry.

Under the new laws, which apply to children and foreigners, even if they are not Muslim, those found guilty of gay sex could be stoned to death or whipped.

Adulterers risk death by stoning too, while thieves face amputation of a right hand on their first offence and a left foot on their second.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah instituted the code in 2014 to bolster the influence of Islam in the oil-rich monarchy of around 430,000 people, two-thirds of whom are Muslim.

Even before 2014, homosexuality was already punishable in Brunei by a jail term of up to 10 years.

Sir Elton John and George Clooney are among stars who have spoken out against the laws, demanding a boycott of the hotels owned by the sultan, including The Dorchester Hotel and 45 Park Lane.

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

Also in its portfolio of hotels, among the world’s most exclusive, are two of Hollywood’s best-known establishments, The Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills.

Protests against the BIA were first started in 2014 when the anti-LGBT laws were initially announced.

A statement from the Dorchester Collection previously said: “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 as we do not tolerate any form of discrimination.”