Current Affairs

Billie Jean King adds to celebrity boycott of Brunei-owned hotels

Ella Braidwood April 6, 2019
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Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King serves as grand marshal of the annual Pride Parade on June 24, 2018 in New York City. (Kena Betancur/Getty)

Tennis star Billie Jean King has joined the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, and George Clooney in urging people to boycott Brunei-owned hotels across the world after the country introduced the death penalty for gay sex on Wednesday (April 3).

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, King shared a tweet by DeGeneres, who highlighted the nine hotels owned by the Brunei royal family, including The Dorchester in London and The Beverley Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

“This atrocity begins today in #Brunei,” King wrote.

“Please join me and spread the word about the boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei.”

Billie Jean King: Don’t stay at Brunei’s hotels

Brunei implemented the strict Islamic legal system of sharia law on Wednesday (April 3), making gay sex between men punishable with death by stoning and lesbian sex carrying a sentence of 40 whips of the cane or a 10 year jail sentence.

Talk show host DeGeneres, meanwhile, called on others to step-up and stop giving hotels owned by Brunei their business.

Brunei: Ellen DeGeneres urges ‘rise up’ as anti-gay laws come into force. Billie Jean King has now joined the boycott
King shared a tweet posted by DeGeneres. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty)

“We need to do something now,” she wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

“Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Raise your voices now.

“Spread the word. Rise up.”

Pop star Dua Lipa has also called for the boycott of Brunei’s companies.

George Clooney leads celebrity boycott of Brunei-owned hotels

Actor George Clooney led the calls to boycott hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei in an op-ed for Deadline last week.

Elton John echoed Clooney’s sentiments last weekend when he said his heart went out to “good, hardworking employees” of Brunei-owned hotels—but said a boycott was necessary.

“We must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable. That’s why David and I have long refused to stay at these hotels and will continue to do so,” he said.

On Monday 1 April, the UN’s human rights chief Michelle Bachelet branded the new laws “cruel and inhuman.”

“I appeal to the Government to stop the entry into force of this draconian new penal code, which would mark a serious setback for human rights protections for the people of Brunei if implemented.”

Two universities, King’s College London and University of Aberdeen, have said they will review honorary degrees awarded to the Sultan of Brunei following the implementation of the draconian legislation in the country.

However, the University of Oxford has come under fire after it said that it had yet not taken “any decision” on whether to rescind the sultan’s degree.

A petition calling on Oxford University to revoke the Brunei ruler’s degree has reached more than 50,000 signatures.

The introduction of the strict Islamic legal system of sharia law in Brunei, a former British protected state, will also impose the death penalty for adultery, amputation for those found guilty of theft, and flogging for abortion.

Related topics: billie jean king, boycott, Brunei, US

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