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Hotels owned by anti-gay Brunei leader delete social media after backlash

Hotels owned by anti-gay Brunei leader delete social media after backlash

Brunei's leader Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah

On Wednesday (3 April), Brunei introduced harsh sharia law which punishes homosexual sex with death by stoning.

The news caused international backlash, including from high-profile celebrities like George ClooneyElton John and Ellen DeGeneres. The United Nations also pleaded to halt the ‘cruel and inhuman’ new code.

People then began calling for the boycott of international hotels owned by Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

It prompted the Dorchester Collection — which owns and manages each of these hotels for the Brunei Investment Agency — to release a statement on Twitter yesterday (3 April).

‘Dorchester Collection is an inclusive and diverse company and does not tolerate any form of discrimination,’ the statement read. ‘ Although we believe in open and transparent communication, we have reluctantly deactivated our hotel social pages due to the personal abuse directed at our employees for whom we have a duty of care.

‘Our corporate social media pages remain in place.

‘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,’ the statement read.

Social media backlash

As a result, social media pages for The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane in London, Coworth Park in Aston, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, Le Meurice and Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris and the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan have all been deleted.

The Hotel Eden in Rome made its Twitter account private.

Many social media users began reacting negatively to the social media statement.

One person replied: ‘Equality, respect and integrity in all areas of your operation? Including where your profits are going?’

Another responded: ‘How can you say you don’t tolerate any form of discrimination when your owner murders gay people by stoning? Is it fine for Brunei but not for the UK?’

Then another tweeted: ‘Sadly your owners don’t agree with that statement.’

Background of Brunei

Rulers of Brunei have long enforced strictly traditional interpretations of Islamic teachings. The country, in Southeast Asia, operates under an absolute monarchy.

In other words, the head of state, the Sultan of Brunei, is also head of government. Royalty and lawmaking are one and the same.

For example, under the current 51-year-long monarch Hassanal Bolkiah, the country banned alcohol and forbade the proliferation of non-Islamic faiths.

The Sultan of Brunei - Hassanal Bolkiah
The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah (Photo: Proudbruneian, Wikimedia Commons)

All a stark contrast to neighboring Muslim-majority nations, such as Indonesia or Malyasia.

Back in 2014, Bolkiah announced the Sharia Penal Code would be implemented in three stages.

The first stage of legal reforms was no struggle to lawmakers, but its second and third stages experienced holdups.

However, the Bruneian Attorney General’s Chambers website officially posted plans to fast-track implementation of the SPC on 29 December 2018.

See also

Ad describing Brunei, which kills LGBTI people, as ‘abode of peace’ slammed

On day anti-gay law comes to Brunei, Sultan promises ‘sweet’ experiences

Peter Tatchell slams Australian Prime Minister’s silence over Brunei