Listen up, travel 'grammers. George Clooney has some harsh truths for you. It turns out the owner of some of the world's most luxurious hotels (including the Beverly Hills Hotel) is literally an evil king and you should probably (definitely) stop giving him your money.
In a guest column written for Deadline, the actor and activist calls for a boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei, one of the richest men on the globe and the leader of a strict Sharia Law state. This April, the small country of about 430,000 will enact laws allowing for the death penalty (by stoning) and other punishments, like whipping, for citizens found to be gay or accused of adultery.
The laws were first announced in 2013 (though homosexuality has always been illegal in Brunei, with a punishment of up to 10 years in prison), but an international backlash, including the first wave of boycotts, which Clooney mentions, caused the regime to hold off. Now, they seem to be going ahead with their plans, and Clooney wants to hit them where it hurts: their pockets.
"The Brunei Investment Agency... own[s] nine of the most exclusive hotels in the world. Full disclosure: I’ve stayed at many of them, a couple of them recently, because I hadn’t done my homework and didn’t know who owned them," Clooney writes.
Though he does note that "the people who work there are kind and helpful and have no part in the ownership of these properties," he insists "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... Are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations? Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?"
Definitely not if we can help it.
Below are the nine hotels owned by Brunei Investment Agency. If you want to make a statement, best to avoid.
The Dorchester, London
45 Park Lane, London
Coworth Park, UK
The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills
Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
Le Meurice, Paris
Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris
Hotel Eden, Rome
Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan
[Photo via @linhwinn]