Last January, 2018 a three-year protest petered out surrounding The Beverly Hills Hotel and other properties owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Now, George Clooney is using his platform to reignite a boycott of the Brunei Investment Agency’s hotels around the world. Clooney, who has become more of an activist since getting together with human rights lawyer and his wife, Amal Clooney, penned an op-ed on the subject, where he detailed why everyone should be spending their money elsewhere instead of the Sultan of Brunei’s hotels.
In his plea, Clooney outlines how the Sultan of Brunei passed Sharia law, which allows the killing of homosexual people and adulterers in the country of Brunei. “On April 3rd the nation of Brunei will begin stoning and whipping to death any of its citizens that are proved to be gay. Let that sink in,” Clooney writes for Deadline. “In the onslaught of news where we see the world backsliding into authoritarianism this stands alone.”
Clooney noted how the protest that began in 2016 eventually faded away as other issues in the world came to take center stage. “A couple of years ago two of those hotels in Los Angeles, The Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills Hotel were boycotted by many of us for Brunei’s treatment of the gay community. It was effective to a point,” he writes. “But like all good intentions when the white heat of outrage moves on to the hundred other reasons to be outraged, the focus dies down and slowly these hotels get back to the business of business.”
Though the last protest was mostly centered around The Beverly Hills Hotel and, even, Hotel Bel-Air, Clooney is hoping that this time a boycott will hit all of the Sultan of Brunei’s properties — and hard. Those additionally include London’s The Dorchester, the English countryside’s Coworth Park, Paris’ Le Meurice, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Rome’s Hotel Eden, and Milan’s Hotel Principe di Savoia. “They own nine of the most exclusive hotels in the world,” Clooney continues, before adding, “Full disclosure: I’ve stayed at many of them, a couple of them recently, because I hadn’t done my homework and didn’t know who owned them.”
For him, the problem isn’t the hotels or the employees; it’s supporting the owner. “They’re nice hotels. The people who work there are kind and helpful and have no part in the ownership of these properties,” he writes. “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.”
“Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?,” he asks towards the end of his op-ed. “I’ve learned over years of dealing with murderous regimes that you can’t shame them. But you can shame the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with them and choose to look the other way.”