Pro-Gay Boycott Against Brunei-Owned Hotel Chain Could Disrupt International Trade Agreement


The expanding Hollywood boycott against the Dorchester Hotel chain owned by Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (pictured below) could threaten the Obama administration's negotiations in the TransPacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). Brunei — one of the 12 countries involved in the TPPA — just implemented Sharia laws punishing homosexuality by stoning and other crimes with public flogging and dismemberment.

Hassanal_bolkiah”Speaking at a protest in front of the Beverly Hills Hotel on Monday,” reports The Huffington Post, “actress Frances Fisher called for ‘contacting the Obama administration and Members of Congress and urging them to ban Brunei from the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. The [TPPA] is a dangerous pact in its own right.’”

HuffPo continues:

“[The TPPA] would bind the U.S. to Brunei and give the Islamic Sultanate special economic privileges.

If the Obama administration gets its way, Brunei could bypass U.S. courts and go before an international tribunal to sue for lost profits from the boycott being pushed by the city of Beverly Hills, Hollywood celebrities and human rights advocates.”

Fisher’s concerns echo those of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF has raised alarm over the TPPA’s black box negotiations saying that its aims“[advance] the agenda of the US entertainment and pharmaceutical industries” while “[omitting] the flexibilities and exceptions that protect Internet users and technology innovators.”

The EFF adds:

“Leaked draft texts of the agreement show that the IP chapter would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder peoples' abilities to innovate.”

“…negotiations for the agreement have taken place behind closed doors and outside of the checks and balances that operate at traditional multilateral treaty-making organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization.”

Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Democratic Florida Representative Alan Grayson have both criticized the Obama administration's secrecy regarding the TPPA.


  1. Douglas says

    and what other businesses does he own? He is worth over $40BILLION so he must have other business interests. Lets boycott all of them.

  2. Vint says

    Some enterprising lawyer ought to hit the Sultan with a class action suit – the class being the gay men and women he’s threatening to kill. And then the Sultan’s U.S. holdings need to be confiscated to settle the class action, and any assets in the U.S. need to be frozen so they’ll be available to pay future victims.

  3. terry says

    Money talks. Obama has proven to be spineless in these situations and the Republican congress probably likes the idea of stoning gays although they will criticize obama for not doing anything. It’s a world run by Bronze age religion beliefs, so what’s new?

  4. gregorybrown says

    The Sultan aligns Brunei with an increasing number of regressive/repressive authoritarian religio-fascist regimes that abuses human rights generally while using queer people as the focus of their actions. He believes that his money and influence among Christo/Islamist extremists will protect him. And that belief is likely accurate.

    His actions are enmeshed in the workings of the TPP that my conspiracist friends insist is an element of ongoing work to destroy national sovereignties and wreck economies to bring them under control of an oligarchic master plan on world scale.. I am starting to suspect they are correct.

  5. Randy says

    The TPP should be eliminated in any case.

    I miss Obama. You know, the candidate….

  6. Gay Guy says

    The problem with Vint’s idea is that you would almost certainly have to have named individuals as plaintiffs.