Brunei shunned by some travel firms over laws allowing gay people to be stoned

With its magnificent rain forests, it is not surprising that last year Borneo was visited by over 13,000 Britons. On their way to the country they often make a stopover in Brunei. Now a boycott of Brunei is gathering momentum because of its new law to stone gay people and anyone caught in adultery.

After launching a global tourism promotion, the new law sends a mixed message to tourists coming to the country.

Transport for London recently cancelled Brunei as their destination on the tourist campaign. Virgin Australia, Regent Holidays and STA Travel all admitted that they had taken Brunei off their itinerary.

Because of the low fares, Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) has long been a favourite of students and backpackers alike. Now STA Travel which makes use of the airline, has offered refunds to customers who no longer wish to visit the country.

Brunei, which is a very small country on the island of Borneo announced in 2014 that they were setting brutal new laws in place. The LGBT law came into effect on April 3rd this year.

The new law states that both gay sex and adultery are now punishable by death. As if this is not enough, the method of punishment is death by stoning. This has appalled many people who have business ventures connected with Brunei.

Deutsche Bank announced that their staff would not be making use of Brunei-owned Dorchester Hotels when on company business. The new laws breached the most basic of human rights. Deutsche Bank Chief Risk Officer Stuart Lewis commented that it was their duty as a firm to act against the new laws.

The Bank is proud to support LGBTIQ rights globally and regularly reviews businesses associated with it to ensure they are in support of this ethic.

The hotel boycott was supported by several well-known celebrities. Gay comedian Ellen DeGeneres posted on her Facebook page to ‘Raise your voices now…Rise up.’

Model Jerry Hall commented that her ‘bank account had been boycotting these hotels for years.’

It was George Clooney who called for the hotels to be boycotted. Ellen DeGeneres, Billie Jean King and Elton John have all called for nine of the hotels owned by Brunei to be boycotted. These include the Beverley Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, Hotel Bel-Air, Le Meurice, Paris, and Principe di Savoia, Milan.

Mr Clooney wrote in a piece for news site Deadline that every time people stay at one of the hotels, or hold meeting there and dine there, they put money into the wallets of men who brutally opt to whip to death and stone their people for being gay or accused of adultery.

Further reaction came from a British TV awards show. TV Choice Awards will no longer take place at the Dorchester Hotel in London. This is part of the chain which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei.

The Financial Times London-based newspaper posted on its website that they had cancelled an event at the Dorchester. They would not be using any of the Dorchester Hotels in the future.

The Dorchester Collection commented on their website that they do not, and never have tolerated any form of discrimination. While they understood the anger and frustration at the new laws, they did not believe that it should be focused on their hotels and the 3,630 staff who worked there.

Spokesman for the Dorchester said that they are deeply saddened by the events and the impact on staff, guests and suppliers. Unfortunately, the values of the hotel chain is far removed from the politics of ownership.


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