March 29, 2019 / 8:38 PM / 22 days ago

George Clooney urges boycott of Brunei-owned hotels over nation's gay sex penalties

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning actor George Clooney has called for a boycott of luxury hotels, including the Beverly Hills Hotel, owned by Brunei because of the Southeast Asian nation’s plans to impose the death penalty for people having gay sex or committing adultery.

FILE PHOTO - Actor, executive producer, and director George Clooney speaks on a panel for the Hulu series "Catch-22", during the Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, California, U.S., February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Brunei, a former British protectorate, has stated it will roll out new Sharia law punishments from April 3 that include death by stoning or whipping for sodomy, adultery, or rape.

In an opinion piece for Hollywood entertainment website Deadline.com on Thursday, Clooney wrote that “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.”

The Brunei Investment Company owns nine hotels in the United States and Europe, including the Beverly Hills Hotel, The Dorchester in London, and the Plaza Athenee in Paris.

The Brunei Investment Company and the Brunei Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to emailed requests for comment on Friday.

Clooney, who is also a political activist and one of the most influential names in Hollywood, said he had stayed at many of the hotels himself “because I hadn’t done my homework and didn’t know who owned them.”

The “Gravity” actor acknowledged that any boycott would likely have “little effect on changing these laws.”

But, he, added “You can shame the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with them and choose to look the other way.”

Clooney’s call was supported by movie director Dustin Lance Black, and American singers Rufus Wainwright and Belinda Carlisle under the Twitter hashtag #BoycottBrunei.

Politicians in Britain and Europe, Amnesty International and human rights groups in Asia have attacked the plans and raised concerns with Brunei.

(The story corrects name of singer Belinda Carlisle in penultimate paragraph. )

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Diane Craft

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