01 APR 2019: Elton John has joined George Clooney in calling for a boycott of luxury hotels owned by the Brunei sovereign wealth fund, over potential new anti-gay laws that would make homosexual sex punishable by death by stoning.  

Brunei is due to enact legislation this week, making those found guilty of adultery or same-sex acts liable to whipping or stoning. 

Clooney wrote a guest column for website Deadline last week, saying, “this April 3rd will hold its own place in history. On this particular April 3rd the nation of Brunei will begin stoning and whipping to death any of its citizens that are proved to be gay," he said. “Let that sink in. In the onslaught of news where we see the world backsliding into authoritarianism this stands alone."

 Clooney, who is married to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, said anyone opposing the measures, which are scheduled to come into force this month, should boycott nine hotels in the Dorchester Group which are owned by the Brunei Investment Agency.

The hotels involved are The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane in London, Coworth Park in Ascot, The Beverly Hills Hotel in Hollywood, the Hotel Bel-Air in LA, Le Meurice and Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, the Hotel Eden in Rome and the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan.

In the column, Clooney acknowledged staying at the hotels in the past, when he was unaware of their connection to the nation.

"They're nice hotels," he said. "The people who work there are kind and helpful and have no part in the ownership of these properties.

"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."

He said the two US hotels in the group, The Beverly Hills Hotel in Hollywood, the Hotel Bel-Air in LA were boycotted a few years ago for Brunei's treatment of the gay community.

"It was effective to a point. We cancelled 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."

 

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