More companies boycott Brunei over anti-gay laws
A British TV awards show and a Swiss-owned travel agency have joined a growing boycott of businesses owned by the kingdom of Brunei, after the country implemented new laws making gay sex and adultery punishable by stoning to death.
TV Choice magazine announced on Twitter that the annual TV Choice Awards would no longer take place at London’s Dorchester Hotel, which operates under the Dorchester Collection brand, a luxury chain owned by the Sultan of Brunei.
London-based newspaper the Financial Times also said in a story on its website that it would cancel a planned event at the Dorchester Hotel and would not use any other Dorchester Collection hotels.
Deutsche Bank announced in a statement that its employees would no longer use Dorchester hotels on company business. “The new laws introduced by Brunei breach the most basic human rights, and we believe it is our duty as a firm to take action against them,” the investment’s chief risk officer Stuart Lewis said.
“We are proud to support LGBTIQ rights around the world, and as part of this we regularly review our business partnerships to ensure that they are aligned with this principle.”
STA Travel, which focuses on travel for students and young people, wrote on Twitter that it would no longer sell flights on Brunei’s national carrier, Royal Brunei Airlines, “in protest at recent changes to the law in Brunei.”
“We’re proud of our open and diverse culture and we expect our partners to demonstrate the same,” STA Travel told CNN in a statement. “We’ve taken this stance to add our voice to the calls on Brunei to reverse this change in the law and in support of LGBTQI people everywhere.”
Customers who have already bought flights on Royal Brunei Airlines will be refunded if they no longer wish to fly with them, STA Travel said. CNN has contacted the Dorchester Collection and Royal Brunei Airlines for comment.
Brunei, a tiny country on the island of Borneo, first announced the brutal new anti-LGBT laws in 2014, and they came into effect on April 3.
Celebrities including actor George Clooney, comedian Ellen DeGeneres, musician Elton John and tennis star Billie Jean King have called for a boycott of nine hotels owned by the country, which also include Hotel Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, Principe di Savoia in Milan and Le Meurice in Paris.
In an opinion piece for entertainment news website Deadline, 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.”
“We need to do something now,” DeGeneres wrote on Instagram. “Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up.”
In a statement on its website, the Dorchester Collection said: “We do not tolerate any form of discrimination, we never have and we never will.”
“We understand people’s anger and frustration but this is a political and religious issue that we don’t believe should be played out in our hotels and amongst our 3,630 employees,” the statement continued.
“We’re deeply saddened by what’s happening right now and the impact it is having on our employees, guests, partners and suppliers in particular. Our values are far removed from the politics of ownership.”