George Clooney is urging people to get behind a boycott of nine luxury hotels owned by the Brunei Investment Agency over Brunei’s implementation anti-gay law involving death by stoning as a punishment for same-sex relations.

The country’s new law, which was first announced in 2013 will take effect on April 3, and will “begin stoning and whipping to death any of its citizens that are proved to be gay.” And the person behind the anti-gay law is the Sultan of Brunei, who is one of the richest men in the world and owns Dorchester Collection hotel group, which owns properties including The Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills Hotel. 

Last week, Clooney wrote a guest column for Deadline and argued that a boycott of the hotels is important in order to keep money away from going “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 Brunei-owned hotels that Clooney is specifically targeting include, the London-based Dorchester and 45 Park Lane hotels; the Coworth Park hotel in Ascot, in the United Kingdom; Le Meurice and Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris; Hotel Eden in Rome, Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan; and The Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, both located in greater Los Angeles.

In his column, Clooney noted that he had stayed at many of the hotels owned by Brunei, but said that he was unaware of who owned them. But now that he does, he argues that even though a boycott is unlikely to change the country’s laws, it can remind consumers not to spend their money at places that support anti-LGBTQ laws. 

“A couple of years ago two of those hotels in Los Angeles, The Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills Hotel, were boycotted by many of us for Brunei’s treatment of the gay community,” Clooney wrote. “It was effective to a point. We canceled a big fundraiser for the Motion Picture Retirement Home that we’d hosted at the Beverly Hills Hotel for years. Lots of individuals and companies did the same. But like all good intentions when the white heat of outrage moves on to the hundred other reasons to be outraged, the focus dies down and slowly these hotels get back to the business of business. And the Brunei Investment Agency counts on that.”

“I’ve learned over years of dealing with murderous regimes that you can’t shame them,” he added. “But you can shame the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with them and choose to look the other way.”

Many people have joined in on Clooney’s call for a boycott of the hotels, including Grammy-winning singer Elton John. 

“I believe that love is love and being able to love as we choose is a basic human right,” John said in a statement. “Wherever we go, my husband David and I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect — as do each and every one of the millions of LGBTQ+ people around the world.”

“Discrimination on the basis of sexuality is plain wrong and has no place in any society,” he added. “That’s why I commend my friend, George Clooney, for taking a stand and calling out the anti-gay discrimination and bigotry now being enshrined in law in the nation of Brunei, a place where gay people are brutalized or worse.”

Jamie Lee Curtis also tweeted her support of the boycott writing, “I stand with George Clooney, a good man doing the right thing, fighting an unjust and barbaric law.”

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Rachel Chhoa-Howard, a Brunei researcher at Amnesty International, has also called the Brunei penalties for gay sex, which will be under the country’s Sharia Penal Code, “cruel and inhuman.”

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“Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations. The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice,” she said in a statement. 

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