Actor George Clooney will continue his boycott of hotels owned by Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah following the Southeast Asian state’s declaration of a moratorium on executions by stoning of people “convicted of adultery and gay sex,” reported The Wrap.
George Clooney announced his boycott of the Sultan’s hotels — nine luxury hotels owned by the Brunei Investment Agency and operated by its subsidiary, Dorchester Collection, which include the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, CA — in a March-published column at Deadline.
“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,” the two-time Oscar-winner wrote at the time.
“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?” Clooney asked. “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.”
Bolkiah’s announced moratorium of the aforementioned executions was made on Sunday, which the New York Times linked to “widespread international protest over the brutality of such penalties.”
Via statement on Monday, Clooney declared:
This is a huge step forward after a giant leap backwards. It promises that the citizens of Brunei won’t be executed for being gay. It also sends a very crucial message to countries like Indonesia and Malaysia that there is a cost for enacting these laws. And the cost isn’t folks boycotting their hotels. The cost is that corporations and big banks won’t do business with you. The financial institutions stepping up had a huge impact. Having said that, the law to stone their citizens is still in place. Meaning that as soon as the pressure dies down they could simply start the process of carrying out executions. So in reference to the boycott everyone should do what they feel is correct. For my family and me we simply can’t walk away until this draconian law is no longer on the books.
The CIA World Factbook describes Brunei as an “oil-rich sultanate” with an estimated per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $78,900 in 2017, the year of its most recent data. Its official religion is Sunni Islam, and its population is estimated to be 78.8 percent Muslim.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.