In a new op-ed in Deadline, actor George Clooney responded to critics of his call for a boycott of the Dorchester Collection, a luxury hotel group owned by the government of Brunei, after Brunei announced it would implement a “death by stoning” punishment for gay sex.
Reacting to people who say the boycott would hurt the hotel staff, who don’t deserve it, Clooney replied: “I share those concerns, but to equate their situation with the fact that this week the 5th richest country in the world would take a young woman who is found to be gay, bury her up to her neck and have 25 men throw stones at her head until she is dead seems unfathomable. This exact argument was used during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. And yes a lot of hard working, presumably innocent bus drivers were hurt… but no one would argue that the boycott was for the far greater good.”
To people who argue that “isn’t this about a bunch of rich people staying away from hotels that I could never afford?” Clooney replied: “These are very expensive hotels, but the bulk of their business isn’t individuals but companies. I’ve been to these hotels when I was doing press events set up by the studios. I don’t know any companies that want to put money in the pocket of a murderer once they know.”
Clooney also argued that although the Sultan won’t be individually hurt, he’ll be distanced by many companies he works with.
Clooney also said that the boycott would have an influence on the anti-LGBTQ countries which are neighbors to Brunei.
In response to accusations — by Bill Maher, Andrew Sullivan, and others — that he’s a hypocrite by not boycotting Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, and others, Clooney replied, “Well then get to it. We all do what we can.”
He added, “You can’t make the bad guys be good, but you can stop the good guys from being complicit.”
Read Clooney’s full op-ed clarification here.