Calls for boycott of Brunei-owned hotels

What a crazy world it is when Hollywood actors and musicians act as the public conscience and politicians remain silent in the face of outrage.

George Clooney is calling for a boycott of nine luxury hotels with links to Brunei after the country warned that it was to make gay sex and adultery punishable by death.

Clooney, who is married to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, said anyone opposing the measures, due to come into force next month, should boycott nine hotels in the Dorchester Group which are owned by the Brunei Investment Agency.


His call has been backed by singer Elton John, comedian Ellen DeGeneres and tennis legend Billie-Jean King among others. 




The hotels are The Dorchester (above) and 45 Park Lane in London, Coworth Park in Ascot, The Beverly Hills Hotel in Hollywood, the Hotel Bel-Air in LA, Le Meurice and Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, the Hotel Eden in Rome and the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan.


He did not mention Royal Brunei Airlines - but it would not be hard for unions to black ban dealing with that airline's flights. 

Writing for entertainment website Deadline, Clooney said he has stayed at the hotels in the past, not realising their connection to the nation.

"They're nice hotels," he said. "The people who work there are kind and helpful and have no part in the ownership of these properties.

"But let's be clear, 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 said the two US hotels in the group were boycotted a few years ago for Brunei's treatment of the gay community.

"It was effective to a point. We cancelled a big fundraiser for the Motion Picture Retirement Home that we'd hosted at the Beverly Hills Hotel for years. Lots of individuals and companies did the same. 


"But like all good intentions when the white heat of outrage moves on to the hundred other reasons to be outraged, the focus dies down and slowly these hotels get back to the business of business. And the Brunei Investment Agency counts on that."

BBC world affairs editor John Simpson is another who has said he wouldn't be visiting hotels owned by the Brunei group.


Although I have only ever stayed at the Meurice, of those on the list, I will also be boycotting - partly because of the abhorrent politics but also because the hotels in the group are far too expensive for me.  

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