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Brunei-owned hotels hide social media accounts after boycott and backlash over anti-gay laws

Celebrities boycott Brunei-linked hotels

The Brunei-owned luxury hotels facing an international boycott have hidden their social media accounts after backlash over laws in the country were enacted this week making gay sex punishable by death. The hotels, which are operated under the Dorchester Collection brand, have faced a celebrity-led international boycott after implementing the new laws.

"Although we believe in open and transparent communication, we have reluctantly deactivated our hotel social media pages due to the personal abuse directed to our employees for whom we have a duty of care," Dorchester Collection posted on social media. 

The boycott was sparked last week in an opinion piece by actor George Clooney, who said a boycott of the high-end hotels — where rooms can start at $600 a night or more — is necessary to keep money from flowing "directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery."

Even before 2014, homosexuality was already punishable in Brunei by a jail term of up to 10 years. But under the new laws - which apply to children and foreigners, even if they are not Muslim - those found guilty of gay sex can be stoned to death or whipped. Adulterers risk death by stoning too, while thieves face amputation of a right hand on their first offense and a left foot on their second.

The nine hotels owned by Brunei are: 

  • The Dorchester, London
  • 45 Park Lane, London
  • Coworth Park, UK
  • The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills
  • Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
  • Le Meurice, Paris
  • Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris
  • Hotel Eden, Rome
  • Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan

Eight of the hotels' accounts have been deleted or deactivated on Twitter, with just Hotel Principle de Savoia in Italy "protected," meaning it is still present on the website, but the tweets cannot be viewed, BBC News reports. 

The Instagram accounts of all but three of the hotels have been deleted or deactivated, with Le Meurice and Hôtel Plaza Athénée in France and Hotel Eden in Rome switched to "private" to prevent the posts being viewed.

Finally, all hotels have been made inaccessible on Facebook, with attempts to view their pages presenting an error message.

The Financial Times reported Friday that several high-profile events have been pulled from the Dorchester and 45 Park Lane in London. Additionally, Deutsche Bank said the nine hotels would be excluded from the list of hotels its employees could use. 

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