Sir Elton John backs Clooney boycott call over Brunei’s gay sex law | Ents & Arts News




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Sir Elton John has backed George Clooney’s call to boycott hotels owned by Brunei, following new laws that make gay sex punishable by death.

The laws, which come into force on 3 April, mean anyone found guilty of homosexual sex or adultery in the tiny southeast Asian country could be stoned or whipped to death.

Sir Elton praised Clooney “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”.

He tweeted a list of the hotels owned by Brunei’s investment agency, including The Dorchester on London’s Park Lane.

Brunei has been governed by Islamic Sharia law since 2014 and its sultan, one of the world’s richest men, is all powerful.

“Our hearts go out to the good, hardworking employees of properties owned by the Sultan of Brunei, many of whom we know to be gay,” said Sir Elton.

Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah says sharia law will form 'part of the great history' of his country
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The sultan is believed to be one of the world’s richest men
The Dorchester Hotel is one of the hotels owned by the Brunei Investment Agency
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The Dorchester Hotel in London is one of the hotels owned by the Brunei Investment Agency

His statement added: “We recognise that sovereign countries will make decisions for their own citizens.

“But we feel we must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable. We must never underestimate the power of our voices – and our actions – to spark the change we need to see.”

The English star’s call follows Clooney’s appeal earlier this week on the Deadline entertainment website.

Clooney wrote: “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.”

George Clooney has called for a boycott of nine Brunei-owned hotels
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George Clooney urged people not to line the pockets of Brunei’s ruler

Others that have spoken out include former US vice-president Joe Biden.

He tweeted: “Stoning people to death for homosexuality or adultery is appalling and immoral… There is no excuse-not culture, not tradition-for this kind of hate and inhumanity.”

Penny Mordaunt, the UK’s international development secretary, called the decision “barbaric”, while Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson tweeted: “This abhorrent, inhuman and medieval piece of legislation has no place in the 21st century.”

The new laws in Brunei also bring in amputation of a hand or foot for theft.

A protest outside one of the sultan’s sprawling London homes is due to take place on Sunday, said the organisers of London’s Pride event.

They tweeted: “There is still so much to fight for. A protest is taking place outside the Sultan of Brunei’s house tomorrow in Ealing to show love and solidarity to our LGBT+ brothers and sisters in #Brunei.”

Homosexuality is still illegal in dozens of countries, such as Nigeria, Uganda, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Jamaica, Iran, Saudi Srabia and Sri Lanka, to name just a handful.



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