Actor George Clooney calls for boycott of Brunei-owned hotels

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

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

Brunei, which gained independence from the United Kingdom 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.

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

In a statement the Beverly Hills hotel communications director, Brittany Williams, 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".

The actor, and husband of human-rights lawyer Amal Clooney, admits to having stayed at the Sultan's hotels in the past, saying: "I hadn't done my homework and didn't know who owned them". Clooney noted that many people in Hollywood previously boycotted the Los Angeles-area hotels in 2014 because of Brunei's mistreatment of the LGBTQ community, going so far as to cancel a fundraiser for the Motion Picture Retirement Home that had been held at the Beverly Hills Hotel for years.

Some aspects of the laws will apply to non-Muslims.

Homosexuality was illegal in Brunei even before this week's changes to the country's penal code, and up until now, was punished by up to 10 years in prison.

"I've learned over years of dealing with murderous regimes that you can't shame them", the actor-turned-activist wrote.

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Others, such as actress Jamie Lee Curtis, have reacted similarly and expressed their support for Clooney's boycott.

"Inclusion and diversity remain core beliefs as we do not tolerate any form of discrimination", she said in an e-mail. "He owns the Brunei Investment Agency and they in turn own some pretty spectacular hotels".

Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch warned that implementation of the law "will quickly drive the country towards human rights pariah status in the eyes of foreign investors, tourists, and worldwide agencies".

European Union politicians called for Brunei to withdraw the law.

He said: "Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations".

"Sexual orientation and gender identity are in essence individual choices, which should, under no circumstances, be subject to punishment, legal codification or discriminatory practices", Mr Panzeri said in a statement on Friday.

The European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBTI Rights would send a letter to the Sultan of Brunei next Monday, its secretary Juliette Sanchez-Lambert told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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