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.