KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 ― The hotels boycott that forced the Sultan of Brunei to back down from imposing the death penalty for homosexuality will serve as warning for other countries considering this, US actor-producer George Clooney said.
Speaking on US talk show Ellen, the Hollywood celebrity singled out Malaysia and Indonesia as among countries purportedly considering such laws.
Clooney earlier said that while shaming was ineffective from deterring countries from pushing such laws, going after their finances and business ties have now been shown to work in forcing them to reconsider.
“[...] And more important is the reason for this is this is something that is manageable, because it sends a warning shot over to countries like Indonesia and Malaysia who also are considering these laws, that the business people, the big banks , those guys are going to say ‘don’t even get into that business, so that’s the reason you do it,” the Hollywood celebrity said.
Brunei controversially announced on April 3 that it was imposing death by stoning for homosexuals as part of the country’s shariah laws.
This triggered an international outcry and boycott of hotels Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah owned across the world, leading to the Brunei ruler to announce a moratorium on the penalty this month.
“The way you make it difficult is by boycotting his hotels. That doesn't matter so much to a rich guy, you can’t shame the ‘bad guys’, but you can shame the people who do business with them.
“And when the banks and financial institutions started saying ‘well, we are out of the Brunei business’, then he backed off, and changed and said ‘put a moratorium’ on it,” Clooney said, referring to Brunei-owned hotels such as the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles and the Dorchester in London.
Malaysia does not have laws against homosexuality per se but criminalises unnatural sex in its Penal Code.
The Sultan of Brunei passed a law that made being gay punishable by death. George Clooney spoke up. I couldn’t be more grateful. pic.twitter.com/TYZNdrHMN8— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 9, 2019