Elton John spurns hotels owned by Sultan of Brunei

Francois-Henri Pinault

Francois-Henri Pinault

A-list celebrities like George Clooney and Elton John are vowing to boycott all nine hotels, including the famed Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, owned by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah's Dorchester Collection.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, Elton John said: "I commend my friend, George Clooney, for taking a stand against the anti-gay discrimination and bigotry taking place in the nation of Brunei - a place where gay people are brutalised, or worse - by boycotting the Sultan's hotels". The 72-year-old, a veteran gay rights campaigner, said his "heart went out" to staff at the hotels, but that "we must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable".

George Clooney last week led calls for an "immediate boycott" of nine hotels owned by the government-controlled Brunei Investment Agency - including the exclusive Dorchester hotel in London - over the new laws.

Clooney had criticised Brunei's announcement that the country will impose the death penalty for gay sex or adultery. It will implement the harsh new penal code - which also mandates amputation of a hand and foot for theft - from Wednesday. This comes directly from the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah. Homosexuality was already illegal in the small sultanate and punishable by up to 10 years in prison, but the new changes, which will take effect on April 3, permit execution by whipping or stoning for Muslims found guilty of sodomy, as well as rape or adultery, Sputnik previously reported.

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The draconian penal code, first introduced in 2013, has seen its implementation delayed due to widespread, worldwide condemnation.

The law applies only to Muslims.

He wrote that you can't shame "murderous regimes", but you can shame "the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with them".

'The (Sharia) Law, apart from criminalizing and deterring acts that are against the teachings of Islam, also aims to educate, respect and protect the legitimate rights of all individuals, society or nationality of any faiths and race, ' the prime minister's office statement said.

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