While few of us are wealthy enough to actively participate in a boycott of the fancy-schmacy luxury hotels owned by the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, whose country newly implemented a law punishing gay sex with death by stoning, we can certainly flood the hotels’ social media accounts decrying the new law.
Fearing this, the hotels have apparently deleted their social media accounts. The Hill reports:
The Dorchester Collection, which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, and operates the five-star hotels, issued a statement on Twitter saying it has deactivated the pages “due to the personal abuse directed at our employees.”
“Dorchester Collection is an inclusive and diverse company and does not tolerate any form of discrimination,” the statement reads.
Out reports that 8 of the 10 properties owned by the Sultan removed their Twitter accounts on Wednesday, the day the stoning law went into effect.
It’s just the latest development in a growing outcry against Brunei’s brutal, homophobic law.
Celebrities like George Clooney, Elton John, Jaime Lee Curtis, Rufus Wainright, Ellen DeGeneres and Dua Lipa have all called for boycotts of the Sultan’s properties. Los Angeles city leaders and anti-LGBTQ Republican Senator Ted Cruz support the boycott, even though it’ll undoubtedly affect American workers (including hairdressers, laments Queer Eyes‘ Jonathan Van Ness).
Brunei has defended its laws saying that it will “deter” people from anti-Islamic acts and adding that his “sweet” and “friendly” country will offer travelers a “safe and harmonious welcome” (emphasis on the harm). Islamic scholars have called the laws a gross, extremist distortion of Islamic law.
London commuters have railed against tourism ads calling Brunei an “abode of peace.” After complaints, the ads were eventually scrapped. Londoners will protest the law this weekend. England-based Virgin Airlines has also dropped a Brunei airlines from serving its customers any longer.
U.N. Human Rights Chief Michele Bachelet called the law “a serious setback to human rights,” Germany has protested to Brunei’s envoy, and the U.S. State Department has issued a general statement saying that they oppose violent laws against LGBTQ people while not mentioning Brunei specifically. Trump has said nothing (unsurprisingly). Neither has Australia’s prime minister.
In light of the law, two Democratic Congresspeople have introduced legislation that would reinstate a federal position to help promote LGBTQ rights abroad.
Meanwhile, pundits like Bill Maher, Andrew Sullivan and S.E. Cupp has all called the hotel boycott “chickensh*t tokenism” and Australia’s federal travel hotline has been telling tourists that they’ll be okay in Brunei as long as they “act straight.”