01/04/2019 11:43 BST | Updated 01/04/2019 11:46 BST

Elton John Backs George Clooney's Call For Brunei Hotels Boycott Over Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

"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."

Sir Elton John has backed George Clooney’s calls to boycott luxury hotels owned by the Sultan Of Brunei, after the country announced the introduction of new anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

Brunei, a south-east Asian country with a population of about 430,000 people, could from April 3 hand a death sentence to anyone found guilty of homosexual acts or adultery, with punishments including whipping and stoning.

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Elton John 

The laws, as part of the country’s interpretation of Sharia Law, also introduce amputation of the hands or feet as punishment for robbery, according to an announcement by the country’s attorney general.

In response, Hollywood star George demanded a boycott of exclusive hotels owned by the Sultan Of Brunei, three of which are in the UK, including London’s The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane.

Sir Elton, who married husband David Furnish in 2014, has now joined Clooney in calling for a boycott and said he has “long refused” to stay at the hotels.

He said: “I believe that love is love and being able to love as we choose is a basic human right.

“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.

“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.”

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George Clooney

In his call for a boycott last week, George 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.

“Brunei is a Monarchy and certainly any boycott would have little effect on changing these laws. But are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations?”

The Brunei Investment Agency (BIA), through the Dorchester Collection, owns London’s The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane as well as Coworth Park in Berkshire.

Also in its portfolio of hotels, among the world’s most exclusive, are two of Hollywood’s best-known establishments, The Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills.

Protests against the BIA were first started in 2014 when the anti-LGBTQ+ laws were initially announced.

A statement from the Dorchester Collection said: “Dorchester Collection’s code emphasises equality, respect and integrity in all areas of our operation, and strongly values people and cultural diversity amongst our guests and employees.

“Inclusion and diversity remain core beliefs as we do not tolerate any form of discrimination.”

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