George Clooney wants you to check out where you’re checking in.
In a new guest column for Deadline, Clooney calls for the immediate boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel, Hotel Bel-Air, and other exclusive hotels owned by Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, to protest the country’s imminent implementation of the death penalty for homosexual acts between consenting adults.
As reported earlier this week, LGBTQ rights advocates are feverishly spreading word of Brunei’s plans to implement Sharia law as part of a change to the country’s penal code. In 2014 the small southeast Asian nation became the first in the region to instate this horrific Muslim legislation.
Consensual gay sex in Brunei is already punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The new laws, initially delayed due to international outrage, would now add whipping and stoning to the punishments for those citizens found guilty.
“We are trying to get pressure placed on the government of Brunei but realize there is a very short time frame until the laws take affect,” Matthew Woolfe, founder of The Brunei Project, tells Reuters. “It took us by surprise that the government has now given a date and is rushing through implementation.”
Thank you George Clooney for calling to boycott all hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. We cannot support people who threaten to kill those who love just a little differently. We cannot rest where hatred grows. #BoycottBrunei
— Rufus Wainwright (@rufuswainwright) March 29, 2019
Despite reservations for the local economies these hotels support like the hairdressers, cooks, admin staff etc I have to agree. We can’t support this legislation with our funds #BoycottBrunei https://t.co/6glsVQTqNI
— Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) March 29, 2019
— Bobby Berk (@bobbyberk) March 27, 2019
Clooney condemned the announcement that, beginning April 3, Brunei will whip and stone to death any citizens caught committing adultery or having gay sex. “Let that sink in,” he wrote. “In the onslaught of news where we see the world backsliding into authoritarianism this stands alone.”
The actor also listed Brunei-owned properties The Dorchester, London ; 45 Park Lane, London; Coworth Park, U.K.; Le Meurice, Paris ; Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris ; Hotel Eden, Rome ; and Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan.
“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,” Clooney writes. “Are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations? Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?”
Clooney’s boycott was quickly supported on social media by celebrities such as Rufus Wainwright, Elton John, activist James Duke Mason, and Queer Eye’s Bobby Berk and Jonathan Van Ness using the hashtag #BoycottBrunei. Even staunchly conservative Sen. Ted Cruz agreed with Clooney’s statements, calling Brunei’s laws “immoral, barbaric & inhumane.”
— Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) March 28, 2019
I commend my friend, #GeorgeClooney, for taking a stand against the anti-gay discrimination and bigotry taking place in the nation of #Brunei – a place where gay people are brutalized, or worse – by boycotting the Sultan’s hotels.https://t.co/8ymurW7hqm
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) March 30, 2019
Here are words I’ve never said before: I agree with George Clooney. Brunei’s laws criminalizing homosexuality — and imposing capital punishment — are immoral, barbaric & inhumane. We should stand united in condemning them & not give our $$ to those who perpetuate oppression. https://t.co/eipC9MiQOk
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 29, 2019
“Stoning people to death for homosexuality or adultery is appalling and immoral,” former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted. “Every single person on earth is entitled to be treated with dignity and to live without fear. There is no excuse—not culture, not tradition—for this kind of hate and inhumanity.”
“If you continue to stay at or frequent the Beverly Hills Hotel, you are guilty of financially supporting these murderers,” tweeted Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.
Clooney, who was a vocal champion of marriage equality, played pro-equality attorney David Boies in a 2012 star-studded Los Angeles reading of Black’s play 8, adapted from transcripts of California’s historic Proposition 8 trial.
“Well before Prop. 8, I’ve made the point that every time we’ve stood against equality, we’ve been on the wrong side of history,” he told The Advocate.
Clooney also discussed his willingness to use his celebrity to make political statements. “A lot of actors come from a place of fear, and that’s just a general statement about actors,” he explained. “The simple truth is that everyone has an opinion, everyone has the right to voice it, and they should if they want to.”
Jay Leno notably spoke at a Coalition of Women’s Rights, LGBT, and Human Rights Groups Rally, held across from the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2014, to protest Brunei’s introduction of Sharia law. Ellen DeGeneres, Sharon Osbourne, and Kim Kardashian were among the celebrities who joined in the boycott.