- Actor George Clooney penned an op-ed Thursday that called for a boycott of hotels owned by the corporate arm of the Brunei government, which recently prescribed the death penalty for citizens who engage in gay sex.
- The ritzy hotels connected to the Brunei government include the Beverly Hills Hotel, The Dorchester in London, and the Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris.
- HBO host Bill Maher took aim at Clooney’s call Friday night, berating the op-ed as “chicken-sh– tokenism.”
On Friday, HBO host Bill Maher mocked actor George Clooney’s call for a boycott of hotels that are allegedly connected to Brunei’s corporate arm. In a Deadline op-ed Thursday, Clooney condemned the recent institution of the death penalty in the country for those who engage in gay sex.
The country, which lies just north of Indonesia and Malaysia, has enacted a law that dictates those caught engaging in gay sex or adultery be stoned to death. The law will go in effect on April 3.
In his column, Clooney wrote that the boycott would stop funding “the murder of innocent citizens.”
“I’ve learned over the years of dealing with murderous regimes that you can’t shame them,” Clooney wrote. “But you can shame the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with them and choose to look the other way.”
The hotels owned by the government-run Brunei Investment Agency Clooney listed include the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, The Dorchester in London, 45 Park Lane in London, Coworth Park in Ascot, Le Meurice in Paris, Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, Hotel Eden in Rome, and the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan.
Clooney continued: “Every single time we stay at or take meetings at or dine at any of these nine hotels we are putting money directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery.”
Maher dismissed Clooney’s approach as “chickensh– tokenism” among larger offenses by foreign governments.
“What about Saudi Arabia?” Maher asked. “If you really want to get back at them, stop driving or using oil.”
Maher’s guest S.E. Cupp called Clooney “hypocritical” for the call amid ongoing business with the United Arab Emirates, another majority Muslim nation with harsh human rights laws.
“It’s Sharia Law, which is some version of the law in most Muslim-majority countries,” Maher agreed. “And if you want to be against that, you know, speak openly and honestly about standing up for liberal principles.”
Maher also jabbed at Clooney’s knowledge of “issues in the Middle East” because of his role in “Syriana,” though the actor’s wife is a star attorney notable for her defences of women’s and human rights who was recently appointed to the UK Attorney General’s expert panel on public international law.
Clooney’s column is the latest to hit the country since the 2014 celebrity boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel when the Sultan of Brunei introduced a similarly harsh prescription of Sharia law.
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