British comic Stephen Fry and U.S. talk show host Ellen DeGeneres have joined the boycott of a hotel chain owned by the Sultan of Brunei. The high profile celebrities are taking a stand against the Asian nation’s anti-gay law.
Brunei has passed a law that makes homosexuality illegal. Homosexual acts are now acknowledged as crime after the law came into effect on April 22. Violators are given the death penalty by stoning.
Fry and DeGeneres, who are both proud homosexuals, decided to send a clear signal to the country by boycotting the luxury hotel franchise owned by the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.
The Dorchester Collection is a subsidiary of the sultan’s Brunei Investment Agency, and which includes luxury hotels in London, Paris, Rome, Milan, Geneva, and Los Angeles.
Fry told his Twitter followers the he had been booked into one of The Dorchester hotels, but opted to cancel his reservation to protest the Draconian law.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) April 26, 2014
He also tweeted a link that lists the hotels included in the Collection.
A few days before, DeGeneres vowed to avoid the franchise as well.
I won't be visiting the Hotel Bel-Air or the Beverly Hills Hotel until this is resolved. http://t.co/RqQrLBK4EJ
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 22, 2014
Fry and DeGeneres join a list of celebrities, particularly those belonging in the fashion industry, who have called for a boycott of The Dorchester Collection hotels, including the Beverly Hills Hotel, where many fashion shows usually take place.
In response to the boycott, a spokeswoman for Dorchester Collection released a statement to WWD, which reads: “We are aware that many variations of Sharia law are practiced in many countries throughout the wolrd and these countries have diverse business interests including fashion, hospitality and travel groups, media, entertainment, banking and many other sectors.
“We are sensitive to the fact that any such potential withdrawal of business directly impacts our employees, who represent the full diversity of society. Our loyal and dedicated employees have no involvement in this religious and political issue.”
The statement further added, “We continue to abide by the laws of the countries we operate in and do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind. The laws that exist in other countries outside where Dorchester Collection operates do not affect the policies that govern how we run our hotels.
“Dorchester’s code, endorsed by the company’s ownership, emphasises equality, respect and integrity in all areas of our operation, and strongly values people and cultural diversity amongst our guests and employees.”