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.
Tomorrow, the country of #Brunei will start stoning gay people to death. We need to do something now. Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up. pic.twitter.com/24KJsemPGH
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 2, 2019
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) April 3, 2019
I believe that love is love and being able to love as we choose is a basic human right. 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.
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) March 30, 2019
This is wrong. The world needs to know. "Barbaric to the core': Brunei brings in gay sex stoning lawhttps://t.co/Emeo7XDq0o
— Vincent D'Onofrio (@vincentdonofrio) April 3, 2019
I've boycotted The Beverly Hills Hotel for years, even though it has been a big part of my life, starting with Mrs. O'Kane's ballet class when I was 4 years old. Holidays, brunches & my younger daughter's wedding! Most of all I miss the Polo Lounge, great bar, but I won't go back
— Nancy Sinatra (@NancySinatra) March 29, 2019
— Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) March 28, 2019
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.
From today, Brunei introduces a new punishment for gay sex: stoning to death.
This is barbaric, inhumane and completely contrary to Commonwealth values.
If our soft power through the Commonwealth means anything, we should be able to tackle such appalling human rights abuses. pic.twitter.com/ou8btNxmIa
— Jo Swinson (@joswinson) April 3, 2019
No one should face death because of who they love. The @foreignoffice must take strong action and the Commonwealth must come together & demand Brunei drops this inhumane law. We must continue to stand in solidarity with LGBT+ communities around the world. https://t.co/GthinaHmKK
— Dawn Butler MP✊🏾 (@DawnButlerBrent) April 3, 2019