Brunei hotels deactivate social media accounts amid anti-LGBT law backlash

Asia News
Brunei hotels deactivate social media accounts amid anti-LGBT law backlash

Brunei-owned luxury hotel venues, which include the Beverly Hills Hotel, Hotel Bel-Air (Los Angeles), and 45 Park Lane and The Dorchester in London, have deleted social media accounts amid an ongoing backlash over anti-LGBT laws introduced in Brunei.

South East Asian island state introduced strict Islamic Sharia laws this month that make gay sex punishable by flogging or stoning to death.

George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres are among celebrities who have called for a public boycott of Brunei-owned luxury hotels.

Other hotels on the Boycott campaign list include: Coworth Park in Ascot (UK), Le Meurice and Hotel Plaza Athenee, both in Paris, Hotel Eden in Rome and Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan.

One tweet from DeGeneres’ @The EllenShow said: “Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up.”

Eight of the hotels’ accounts have been deleted or deactivated on Twitter, with just Hotel Principle de Savoia in Italy still present, although tweets cannot be viewed.

The BBC reported also that the Instagram accounts of all but three of the hotels have been deleted or deactivated, while Le Meurice and Hôtel Plaza Athénée in France and Hotel Eden in Rome switched to ‘private’ to prevent the posts being viewed.

The BBC also reported that all the hotels had been made inaccessible on Facebook, with attempts to view their pages presenting an error message.

Dorchester Collection, which manages the hotels, put a message on its website which said: “We do not tolerate any form of discrimination,” adding, “Although we believe in open and transparent communication, we have reluctantly deactivated our hotel pages due to personal abuse directed at our employees”.

The boycott is spreading, with Virgin Australia ending a deal with Royal Brunei Airlines and TripAdvisor has reportedly banned reviews for the hotels on its platform, saying the issue had “caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience [and] we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing.”

The new measures in Brunei also cover a range of other crimes including punishment for theft by amputation. The sultan has called for “stronger” Islamic teachings. The punishment for theft is amputation.

Homosexuality was already illegal in Brunei and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The country first introduced Sharia law in 2014 despite widespread condemnation, giving it a dual legal system with both Sharia and Common Law.

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail