Starting 3 April, Brunei made international headlines for introducing new laws that punish LGBTQ people for same-sex activity by whipping or stoning them to death
Since the news broke, Hollywood celebrities such as George Clooney, Elton John, and Ellen DeGeneres have rallied a boycott of nine hotels in the United States and Europe with ties to Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
The boycott was sparked by actor George Clooney.
"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 wrote in a guest column on Deadline Hollywood on 28 March.
"Brunei is a Monarchy and certainly any boycott would have little effect on changing these laws. But are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations? Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?" the actor added.
Brunei-owned hotels include iconic landmarks such as The Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, and The Dorchester in London
"I've stayed at many of them, because I hadn't done my homework and didn't know who owned them," Clooney wrote.
The nine high-end hotels owned by Brunei:
- The Dorchester, London
- 45 Park Lane, London
- Coworth Park, UK
- The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills
- Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
- Le Meurice, Paris
- Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris
- Hotel Eden, Rome
- Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan
"The country of Brunei will start stoning gay people to death. We have to do something now," tweeted openly gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
"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," she wrote.
Her tweet has garnered over 98,000 retweets at the time of writing.
"We must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable," tweeted singer Elton John.
In addition to the hotel boycotts, people are also petitioning for prestigious universities around the world to cut ties with the 72-year-old Sultan of Brunei
A change.org petition is seeking for the University of Oxford to rescind the Honorary Degree of Civil Law by diploma given to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in 1993.
"It is time for the University to take responsibility for its links to governments which oppose basic human rights and freedoms," read the petition.
According to the page, the University of Aberdeen and King's College London are considering to rescind the honourary diplomas given by them to the Brunei Sultan.
Meanwhile, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London said that it is currently "reviewing" its Brunei Galery, one of its main buildings named after the Sultan of Brunei.
"It is crucially important that all areas of our work, including philanthropy, are aligned with our values," a statement from the university read, according to the Huffington Post.