by Telegraph Reporters, The Telegraph, March 29, 2019
George Clooney has called for a boycott of The Dorchester in London and other luxury hotels owned by Brunei after the tiny oil-rich nation announced new laws making homosexual acts and adultery punishable by death.
From April 3 in Brunei, a south-east Asian country with a population of about 430,000, anyone found guilty of homosexuality or cheating on spouse could be whipped or stoned.
The laws, as part of the country's interpretation of Sharia Law, also introduce amputation of the hands or feet as punishment for robbery.
Brunei, which gained independence from the UK in 1984, is headed by the Sultan of Brunei and through its investment agency, the Dorchester Collection, owns The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane as well as Coworth Park in Berkshire.
Two of Hollywood's best-known hotels, The Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills, are also under its control.
Writing for news website Deadline, the actor said: "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? I've learned over years of dealing with murderous regimes that you can't shame them. But you can shame the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with them and choose to look the other way."
Clooney admitted he had stayed at some of the hotels "recently", saying he was unaware of their ownership.
It is not the first time Hollywood has attempted to boycott the hotels for Brunei's treatment of the LGBT community.
In 2014, when the country announced it was implementing Shariah Law, activists demanded stars stop attending Brunei-owned hotels and Clooney said a fundraising event usually held at the Beverly Hills Hotel was cancelled.
However, Clooney said the boycott lost steam. "Like all good intentions when the white heat of outrage moves on to the hundred other reasons to be outraged, the focus is down and slowly these hotels get back to the business of business", he said.
Britain updated their travel advisories to caution people about the changes in the Muslim-majority country where Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has a firm grip on power.
“No one should face the death penalty because of who they love,” Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for DFID, tweeted. “Brunei’s decision is barbaric and the UK stands with the LGBT+ community and those who defend their rights. LGBT+ rights are human rights.”