A bunch of luxury hotels owned by Brunei’s royal family are putting their social media pages on lockdown after a celebrity backlash against the kingdom’s introduction of Sharia Law including a death penalty for gay sex.
- A number of celebrities have called on Sultan-owned hotels to be boycotted over the introduction of a death penalty for gay sex
- The hotel group deactivated their social media accounts over “personal abuse directed at our employees”
- Some hotels have had to defend themselves after being mistakenly confused for a Brunei-linked property
Celebrities like George Clooney and Elton John led a boycott of the Dorchester Collection hotel chain, which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.
The Brunei Investment Company owns nine hotels across the US and Europe, including the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Plaza Athenee and Le Meurice in Paris, The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane in London, and Hotel Eden in Rome.
“Dorchester Collection is an inclusive and diverse company and does not tolerate any form of discrimination,” they wrote on their official Twitter account.
“Although we believe in open and transparent communication, we have reluctantly deactivated our hotel social pages due to the personal abuse directed at our employees, for whom we have a duty of care.”
Brunei’s new laws punish homosexual sex and adultery with stoning and whipping.
Punishments for relations between women are less severe, but they can still be whipped up to 40 times and jailed for 10 years.
The penal code also punishes armed robbery by cutting off the offender’s right hand or left foot.
Women face jail if they have an abortion or give birth outside of marriage, and Muslims caught drinking alcohol face whipping.
Television host Ellen DeGeneres and tennis great Billie Jean King also weighed in.
DeGeneres wrote on Twitter that Brunei would be “stoning gay people to death”, and Billie Jean King described the new laws as an “atrocity”.
“We need to do something now. Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Raise your voices now.”
In an opinion piece, Clooney wrote that “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”.
Some of the vitriol from boycotters appeared to be misdirected; Hotel Bel-Air in Greece took to Facebook “to clarify that we are not the Hotel Bel-Air owned by the Sultan of Brunei”.
“This is just a synonymity. We are a family owned business in the Ionian Islands of Greece and we support the LGBTQ community and their rights,” they wrote.