George Clooney calls for hotel boycott over Brunei LGBT laws

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George ClooneyImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
George Clooney said the new laws amounted to "human rights violations"

Hollywood actor George Clooney is calling for a boycott of nine luxury hotels with links to Brunei, after the country said gay sex and adultery would soon be punishable by death.

From 3 April, homosexuals could face being whipped or stoned in the tiny South East Asian state.

In 2014, Brunei became the first East Asian country to adopt Islamic Sharia law despite widespread condemnation.

Mr Clooney said the new laws amounted to "human rights violations".

"In the onslaught of news where we see the world backsliding into authoritarianism this stands alone," the actor wrote in a column for the entertainment website Deadline.

"Brunei is a Monarchy and certainly any boycott would have little effect on changing these laws", he said. "But are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations?"

He said Dorchester Collection hotels in the US, UK, France and Italy, which are owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, should be avoided by those who oppose the measures.

Brunei, on the island of Borneo, is ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and has grown rich on oil and gas exports.

The Sultan owns the Brunei Investment Agency, which counts some of the world's top hotels in its portfolio, including the Dorchester in London and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

"I've stayed at many of them," Mr Clooney wrote, "because I hadn't done my homework and didn't know who owned them.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Dorchester in London is among the nine hotels Mr Clooney has said should be boycotted

"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," he added.

Other public figures have also announced they are boycotting the Dorchester Collection.

Filmmaker Dustin Lance Black wrote on Twitter: "If you continue to stay at or frequent the Beverley Hills Hotel, you are guilty of financially supporting these murderers."

BBC world affairs editor John Simpson also confirmed that he wouldn't be visiting hotels owned by the group.

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In 2014, Ellen DeGeneres and Stephen Fry vowed to boycott the group over Brunei's anti-gay laws.

Brunei's ruling royals possess a huge private fortune and its largely ethnic-Malay population enjoy generous state handouts and pay no taxes.

The Sultan introduced a tough Islamic penal code nearly five years ago which it said would be introduced over a period of several years.

Under the new laws, theft will be punished by the amputation of a hand for a first offence and the amputation of a foot for a second offence.

When he announced the move, the Sultan, 72, one of the world's wealthiest men, called the code "a part of the great history of our nation".