George Clooney never made the headlines with his films only. He often uses his popularity to raise awareness about vital social issues. One of the latest causes the ER leading star engaged with were the LGBT rights and the anti-gay laws in Brunei.
In a critical opinion piece in Deadline Hollywood, the actor called for the boycott of nine hotels across the US and Europe with ties to the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah. As of April 1, the Asian country would start implementing a newly-adopted Islamic criminal law and punish gay sex by stoning offenders to death.
The upper upscale hotels Clooney asked his followers to boycott are The Dorchester and Coworth Park in the U.K.; Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles; Le Meurice and Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris; Hotel Eden in Rome; and Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan.
In his piece, Clooney claimed that the Brunei Investment Agency owns all these hotels. The actor was honest enough to admit he used their services on numerous occasions too before realizing who held them.
In Clooney's view, we cannot shame this ''murderous regimes,'' but we have the power to boycott all the financial, business, and leisure institutions that work with them.
The 57-year-old Oscar winner asserted that every single time we book a room in these nine hotels, or we dine in their high-profile restaurants, we support a country which abruptly violates human rights and stone or whip to death their citizens for the sole reason of being gay.
Brunei is a small kingdom, home of 450,000 people. It is abundant on oil, located on the island of Borneo and surrounded by the fellow Muslim states of Indonesia and Malaysia.
The tiny Asian sultanate is the first country in the region to adopt Sharia law. Brunei announced the harsh measures back in 2013, but it delayed their implementation following a battle with the opposition of the human rights groups.
Homosexuality has already been punishable in Brunei and offenders could get ten years in prison so far. As of next month, the sultanate would start enforcing new measures against the Muslim gays, including stoning and whipping. The new regulations also mandate amputation of a hand and foot for theft.
That is not the first time a Hollywood start boycotts the hotels in question because of the infringement of human rights in Brunei. In May 2014, soon after the Sultanate adopted the Sharia law and announced punishments such as flogging and dismemberment on the books for those convicted of being gay.
Among the famous actors who raised voice about such practices and to ask their fans to boycott the Brunei-owned hotels were Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno, Elton John, Richard Branson, and Sharon Osbourne.
Do you support or oppose the Clooney's call to boycott the overseas businesses of countries that infringe human rights?