Last month the Sultan of Brunei enacted a penal code reform that includes the stoning to death of homosexuals (along with those who rob, commit sodomy, insult the Koran or declare oneself to be a prophet), leading to a boycott of the Sultan’s international luxury hotel group Dorchester Collection.
This included some Hollywood outcry over the Beverly Hills Hotel, the iconic pink West L.A. institution. Ellen Degeneres, Jay Leno, Kim Kardashian, Stephen Fry, Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson and Sharon Osbourne are among those who’ve leant their voices to cry foul and pledge to spend their money elsewhere.
But acting Chief Executive of leading U.K.-based lesbian, gay and bisexual equality organization Stonewall Ruth Hunt sees things differently, and she’s taking a fair amount of flack for her opinions.
“At Stonewall we share the anger and fury of those calling for a boycott but we won’t be joining them. We are committed to achieving equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people – both here in Great Britain and abroad. We’re renowned for our pragmatism and our belief that talking is usually more effective than protests – however satisfying protests may be, in the short term they’re often most rewarding to the individuals taking part. We only implement actions that we can calculate will have an impact.”
Pragmatic? Perhaps. Inspiring? Definitely not.
Especially given Hunt’s next line of logic — that a boycott actually harms gay people in Brunei:
“I do, however, fear that the boycott could do very real harm to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people of Brunei. By turning the issue into a battle between gay people and the Sultan – which it isn’t, it affects everyone in Brunei, not just gay people – we limit the opportunity for dialogue and put the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people of Brunei at far greater risk. A group of people, I hasten to add, who’ve yet to publically call for a boycott.”
We’re not sure making excuses is exactly the best way to spark conversation, either. We’re all for calculating the best plan of action, but doing nothing doesn’t seem quite right either.
H/t: Pink News