Ellen DeGeneres is one of the latest celebrities to speak out against Brunei and join in a boycott of Brunei-owned hotels due to an anti-gay law that goes into effect today.
New Islamic criminal laws took effect in Brunei on Wednesday, one of which punishes gay sex and adultery by stoning offenders to death under new sections of Brunei’s Shariah Penal Code. Thieves face amputation of a right hand on their first offense and a left foot on their second. The new laws also apply to children and foreigners, even if they are not Muslim.
The man behind the anti-gay law in the Southeast Asian country is Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who owns Dorchester Collection hotel group, which owns properties including The Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills Hotel.
DeGeneres encouraged her followers to boycott the hotels, sharing a list of hotels in the United States and Europe to social media Tuesday with a passionate message.
“Tomorrow, the country of Brunei will start stoning gay people to death. We need to do something now. Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei,” she wrote. “Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up.”
“Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo echoed the talk show host’s message, writing in the comments: “#BOYCOTTTHESEHOTELS Human rights matter”
George Clooney was one of the first stars to speak out against the new laws.
In a guest column for Deadline, Clooney wrote about how Brunei, a tiny monarchy rich with oil, would “begin stoning and whipping to death any of its citizens that are proved to be gay,” in accordance with the new law.
Elton John also joined the chorus of celebrities speaking out.
The singer took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the news in a series of tweets Saturday.
“I commend my friend, #GeorgeClooney, 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 wrote. “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.”
“We must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable. That’s why David and I have long refused to stay at these hotels and will continue to do so. We hope you will join us in solidarity,” he continued, before sharing a list of hotels to boycott.
“Queer Eye” star Bobby Berk also shared a message with the hashtag #BoycottBrunei on his social media.
Amnesty International and other rights groups have also slammed the new laws.
Contributing: The Associated Press, Carly Mallenbaum
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