A new law went into effect yesterday in the small, wealthy country of Brunei permitting whipping and stoning to death as a punishment for gay sex and adultery. The new laws also permit amputating the hands of those convicted of stealing. Now, celebrities are pushing back against the draconian law by calling for a boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah. These hotels include The Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel in California.
The boycott started when George Clooney published a guest column on Deadline calling for supporters to withhold business from the hotels until Brunei changes its laws. Now, Ellen DeGeneres is calling on her fans to join the boycott as well. DeGeneres shared a post on Instagram with the names of the hotels owned by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and captioned the post with a plea to boycott. “Tomorrow, the country of Brunei will start stoning gay people to death. We need to do something now. Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei,” she wrote. “Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up.”
Elton John is also speaking out about the ban. On social media, he commended Clooney for initiating the boycott. “I commend my friend, #GeorgeClooney, for taking a stand against the anti-gay discrimination and bigotry taking place in the nation of #Brunei – a place where gay people are brutalized, or worse – by boycotting the Sultan’s hotels,” he wrote on Twitter. “We must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable. That’s why David and I have long refused to stay at these hotels and will continue to do so. We hope you will join us in solidarity.”
Billie Jean King retweeted DeGeneres’s sentiments on Twitter, adding “This atrocity begins today in
#Brunei. Please join me and spread the word about the boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei.” Bobby Berk from “Queer Eye” also tweeted about the new law with the hashtag #BoycottBrunei.
Hopefully, more celebrities will continue to join the call to boycott properties in response to this cruel law. The full list of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei includes properties in Lost Angeles, London, Ascot, Paris, Rome, and Milan.