Clooney calls for boycott of hotels owned by Brunei

George Clooney
George Clooney

NEW YORK • Hollywood star George Clooney (above) admitted that he had stayed at many Brunei-owned hotels because "I hadn't done my homework and didn't know who owned them".

Now, he has called for a boycott of the luxury hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei in response to news that adultery and gay sex in the country will be subject to death by stoning.

The syariah law has been on hold for four years amid heavy criticism. The law applies only to Muslims.

In a guest column published on film website Deadline.com on Thursday, Clooney listed the names of nine five-star hotels in England, France, Italy and California - all owned by Sultan Hassanal Bol-kiah's Brunei Investment Agency.

Among them is the exclusive Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

"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," the Oscar-winning actor wrote.

From April 3, people in Brunei who engage in same-sex activity can be flogged and stoned to death.

Consenting same-sex relations are punishable by 10 years' imprisonment under the existing penal code.

Noting that it is hard to get the decision-makers to change their minds, Clooney said: "But you can shame the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with them and choose to look the other way."

This would not be the first boycott targeting Brunei-owned hotels. In 2014, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres supported such action after the country cracked down on gay and lesbian behaviour.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2019, with the headline 'Clooney calls for boycott of hotels owned by Brunei'. Print Edition | Subscribe