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Ellen DeGeneres and Billie Jean King Join Call for Hotel Boycott Over Brunei's LGBTQ Stoning Law


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Ending violence and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation is a key part of sustainable development. Oppressive laws stop LGBTQ people around the world from living their lives with dignity. You can join us and take action on this issue here.  

More celebrities are joining George Clooney’s boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei after the country announced that same-sex relations will be punishable by stoning to death.

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres and tennis star Billie Jean King are the latest to boycott a total of nine international hotels owned by the country, according to CNN. Ahead of Brunei enacting the law on Wednesday, DeGeneres posted a list of hotels to avoid. King then reposted DeGeneres’ call to action on Twitter.

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“Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up,” Degeneres wrote.

King echoed: “Please join me and spread the word about the boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei.”

Before Brunei enacted the severe form of Islamic Sharia law, same-sex relations had already been outlawed in the country and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The new law also punishes adultery, and robbery by stoning, whipping, and amputations –– without exceptions for children.

Read More: George Clooney Calls for Boycott of Brunei-Linked Hotels After Country’s Plan to Stone LGBTQ People

The op-ed Clooney wrote in Deadline, in response to the proposed law, escalated international outrage about the brutal human rights violation. Clooney admitted that he has stayed with the hotel group in the past. 

“Are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations? Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?” Clooney asked.

Many of the hotels did not respond to Clooney’s call for a boycott. The Dorchester, in London, released a statement that assured they do not tolerate any form of discrimination. A spokesperson at Le Meurice in Paris said the hotel wants to stress that they value LGBTQ rights. 

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, Queer Eye’s Bobby Berk, and musician Elton John have also shared support for the boycott on social media. John had stopped staying at the hotel group alongside  Virgin Group founder Richard Branson during a previous call to boycott Brunei in 2014, when the country started enacting Islamic criminal law. John noted the current boycott could hurt employees who work at the hotels, many of which he says identify as LGBTQ. 

Human rights activists have called the law “cruel” and “inhuman.” As the LGBTQ community continues to be the target of persecution and violence around the world, activists warn Brunei’s legislation might encourage other countries to adopt similar laws. Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, continue to put pressure on the country to halt its new laws immediately.