George Clooney calls for boycott of Brunei hotels because of anti-gay laws
Clooney slammed the extreme implementation of Sharia law and called for people to shame the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with the country.
George Clooney has called for the boycott of nine hotels owned by Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, after the tiny Islamic nation announced that, beginning next month, any Muslim convicted of engaging in adultery and gay sex would be stoned to death.
According to the Daily Mail, Brunei first announced the extreme interpretation and implementation of Sharia law in 2013 but postponed putting it into effect after widespread criticism from the international community. While a spokesperson for the country's religious affairs ministry declined to confirm the move to change homosexuality to a capital offense and said the Sultan would be making announcements regarding the same next week, it is expected to go ahead on April 3.
Writing in a guest column for Deadline, Clooney wrote how, from April 3rd, Brunei would "begin stoning and whipping to death any of its citizens that are proved to be gay" and slammed the decision, writing, "In the onslaught of news where we see the world backsliding into authoritarianism this stands alone."
The actor also offered his thoughts on how one could go about denting the finances of a country that is headed by a man who is one of the richest in the world, suggesting that people begin boycotting the hotels owned by Bolkiah's Brunei Investment Agency — which include The Beverly Hills Hotel, The Hotel Bel-Air, The Dorchester in London and Hotel Eden in Rome.
While Clooney admits he's stayed in some of these exclusive establishments, and that "the people who work there are kind and helpful and have no part in the ownership of these properties," he says "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."
He also revealed his insights when it came to "dealing with murderous regimes," writing, "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."
Capital punishment for homosexuality isn't the only new law coming into effect either. Its new penal code will also see convicted thieves lose their right hand for a first offense, and then their left foot for a second offense. The changes are consistent for a nation which is as hardline as they come when it comes to implementing Sharia law — in 2015, excessive Christmas celebrations were banned for fear that Muslims could be led astray.
"To legalize such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself," Brunei researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard said in a statement reacting to the most recent changes. "Some of the potential 'offenses' should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender."
Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch similarly said the laws would "quickly drive the country towards human rights pariah status in the eyes of foreign investors, tourists, and international agencies," and that there would soon be a global boycott of the country.