Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, Nancy Sinatra and Billie Jean King, are urging their followers to boycott hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei as the Asian country introduces several anti-LGBT laws.
On Wednesday, Brunei’s leader launched legislation that would make it legal to stone people to death for engaging in gay sex and adultery. Sex between two women would result in 100 lashes of a cane or a 10-year prison sentence, while the punishment for theft would be amputation under the new laws.
Celebrities are calling for a boycott of the nine hotels around the world owned by the Sultan, which include the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. The protest intensified after George Clooney penned a Deadline guest column last week calling for renewed action against the properties.
Protest against the Beverly Hills and Bel-Air Hotels began in 2014 when Brunei was first implementing Sharia law within the country. Jay Leno and other activists held a rally across the street from the property, and several LGBT organizations ran “Don’t Sleep With the Sultan” ads in Variety. Several entertainment organizations moved their event business elsewhere at the time, though some argued that the boycott was only hurting the hotels’ employees.
The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement on Brunei’s new laws as well.
“The eyes of the world are on Brunei today, and we must all speak with one voice against this barbaric law that threatens LGBTQ people with death by stoning and torture. Given the urgency of this situation, it is increasingly crucial that the United States show moral leadership and join the international community in speaking out against these human rights abuses. We need to seize this moment and demand that Brunei repeal this law without delay,” said Jean Freedberg, director of global partnerships.
Some members of Parliament in the United Kingdom also condemned Brunei’s anti-LGBT legislation.