George Clooney has called for a boycott of all hotels with links to Brunei after the country agreed to pass laws that would punish homosexuality and adultery with barbaric whipping and stoning.
Nine luxury hotels with links to Brunei should be boycotted, says Hollywood star George Clooney. The Academy Award winner has sought to bring worldwide attention to Brunei’s decision to, from April 3, punish homosexuals and adulterers with whipping or stoning.
The South East Asian state, the first in the region to adopt Islamic Sharia law, owns nine exclusive hotels around the world through its national investment agency including three in the UK. Clooney said the new laws amounted to “human rights violations”.
Named one of Time magazine’s “Most Influential People in the World” in 2009, Clooney told entertainment website Deadline that while a small-scale boycott of the country’s international hotels – which includes the Dorchester in London and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles – wouldn’t make a huge dent in ruler Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s pockets, it was nevertheless the right thing to do.
“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.
“Brunei is a monarchy and certainly any boycott would have little effect on changing these laws. But are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations?”
Other public figures have joined Clooney’s boycott. Filmmaker Dustin Lance Black said on Twitter that if people continue to stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel “you are guilty of financially supporting these murderers.” John Simpson, the BBC’s world affairs editor, also confirmed he would not visit these hotels in the future.
Clooney’s stance didn’t win favour with everyone though. On HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the host, with guests SE Cupp and Andrew Sullivan, called the Hollywood star’s actions “chickensh*t tokenism.”
“What about Saudi Arabia,” asked Maher. “If you really want to get back at them, stop driving. Don’t use oil.”
Sullivan questioned if everything should be filtered through a political lens. “We shouldn’t be dictating our lives like a religion according to the dictates of wokeness. It kills the vitality of a free society.”
Cupp said it was hypocritical given similar critiques of Bahrain and its tie to luxury hotels in California. “It’s also the United Arab Emirates, where Hollywood does a ton of business,” she added.
Sullivan joked that if people were serious about speaking out against injustice they shouldn’t “go to a cocktail party with MBS”, referring to Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman – the leader linked to the mysterious death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi – and his influence in Hollywood and the American entertainment industry.