The Brunei Investment Agency, which is part of the Brunei government, owns the hotels, the report said. The Clooney boycott could be a significant success for two-story hotels, which have been the favorites of Hollywood stars and other celebrities for decades. Until Brunei's harsh interpretation of Sharia law is completely repealed or hotels are sold, the Dorchester Hotels boycott continues. That man is Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the absolute ruler of the nation of Brunei, which next week will become the first country in Southeast Asia to impose the death penalty on those who have same-sex sexual relations.
The local hospitality union, UNITE HERE Local 11, had tried to unionize the hotel since the early 1990s, when it was reopened and acquired by the Sultan. The boycott is due to draconian policies against women and the LGBTQ+ community imposed by the property owner, Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, in his country. The Council resolution says the City will refrain from conducting business at the two hotels, including participating in any event or other business that requires City resources and officially discourages all City employees and residents from staying or attending any function at any of the hotels unless and until the government of Brunei repeals “these cruel and inhumane laws. While I fully recognize the boldness of such a move, I sincerely hoped that it would serve as a catalyst to finally make a breakthrough in this horrible never-ending saga for all involved, most importantly for LGBTQ+ people in Brunei, who continue to live in fear and under oppression.
The boycott has helped the Sultan and his Brunei Investment Agency, Brunei's sovereign wealth fund, lose hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. In October, I sent a letter to the Sultan and Ambassador of Brunei to the United States, offering to meet with them to seek a solution to the current stalemate. Clooney himself admitted that he “hadn't done (his) homework and has recently stayed at many of the hotels held in Brunei. Sultan Hassanal recently announced that, starting April 3, anyone accused of adultery or homosexuality would be stoned to death in accordance with Sharia law, although it is not believed that such a sentence has been carried out.
In a speech on Sunday, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said he would extend a moratorium on capital punishment and ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture.