George Clooney has called for the boycott of all the Dorchester Collection hotels, in a guest column for Deadline, because of their links to the Sultan of Brunei. Brunei is due to enact legislation on April 3rd which will involve inhuman punishments such as death by stoning for same-sex sexual acts or adultery and amputation of hands and feet for robbery.
France, Germany and Australia have called on Brunei to scrap the laws. Elton John is backing up Clooney on the boycott-plan. Jamie Lee Curtis also tweeted in support of Clooney.
Up to 10 years of imprisonment
“To legalize such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself. Some of the potential ‘offences’ should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei Researcher at Amnesty International.
Consensual same-sex sexual relations are already seen as a criminal offence in Brunei with “intercourse against the order of nature” punishable by up to 10 years of prison.
Brunei started enacting Islamic criminal law in 2014 in phases. This will be the third and last stage. The penal code from the Sharia law will only be imposed on the country’s Muslims, which is about 67% of the population.
Brunei will be the first country in east Asia with a sharia penal code on national level. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan among others have followed Sharia Law for a long time now.
The 9 Dorchester Collection hotels
The Dorchester Collection is a luxury hotel operator owned by the Brunei Investment Agency (BIA). It owns and manages 9 luxury five star hotels, loved by the rich and famous and promoted (#dcmoments) by influencers all over the world.
These are the 9 hotels:
- Hôtel Plaza Athénée and Le Meurice in Paris.
- 45 Park Lane and the Dorchester in London.
- Hotel Eden in Rome.
- Coworth Park in Ascot.
- The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills.
- Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles.
- Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milano.
The Nation of Brunei is a small country of just 5,765 km2 (smaller than the Netherlands, to give you an idea) and a population of about 430 000. It gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1984. Brunei is one of the richest countries in the world. The Sultan of Brunei has been Sultan since 1967. He is also prime minister, minister of defense, minister of finance, minister of foreign affairs – well, you get the picture. Also he is worth about $20 billion so the boycott will not affect him really but…
…as George Clooney put it: “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. 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? Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?”
What do you think about the boycott? A good or a bad idea?