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Brunei: JPMorgan joins boycott of Sultan’s hotels over anti-gay law

Patrick Kelleher April 29, 2019
Brunei: JPMorgan bans staff from Sultan’s hotels over anti-gay law

JPMorgan banned staff from booking Sultan’s hotels over anti-gay law.(JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty)

Financial services firm JPMorgan Chase has banned staff from booking into Brunei-owned hotels after the country introduced death by stoning for gay people.

The policy was quietly introduced earlier this month, according to the Financial Times.

A senior manager at JPMorgan told the newspaper the company had issued a notice on its internal booking system but had “not said anything publicly.”

The company’s decision follows a similar move by Deutsche Bank, who announced the removal of the Dorchester Collection hotel group from its list of suppliers on April 4.

The Dorchester Hotel in London and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles are among the high-profile hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei.

George Clooney led calls for a boycott of Brunei-owned hotels

Actor and activist George Clooney led calls for a boycott of Brunei-owned hotels late last month when news broke that the small southeast Asian country—which has a population of just 400,000 people—was introducing death by stoning for gay people.

In an op-ed for Deadline, Clooney wrote: “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.”

“Brunei is a Monarchy and certainly any boycott would have little effect on changing these laws. But are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations? Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?”

His call for a boycott was later supported by celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Elton John.

Brunei defended its anti-gay law

Last month, Brunei issued a letter to the European Union where they defended the introduction of its new Sharia laws.

In the letter, they claimed that executions of gay people will be rare, and said “there appears to be a misconception” about the penal code.

“The criminalisation of adultery and sodomy is to safeguard the sanctity of family lineage and marriage of individual Muslims, particularly women.”

– Brunei letter to the European Union

The letter claims: “The criminalisation of adultery and sodomy is to safeguard the sanctity of family lineage and marriage of individual Muslims, particularly women.

The Sultan of Brunei, who introduced death by stoning for gay people earlier this month
The Sultan of Brunei, who introduced death by stoning for gay people earlier this month (AFP/Getty)

“The offences, therefore will not apply to non-Muslims unless the act of adultery or sodomy is committed with a Muslim.”

It adds that the death penalty has an “extremely high evidentiary threshold (…) to the extent that convictions may solely rest on confessions of the offender.”

MEPs UNimpressed with the letter

The letter did not assuage the concerns of MEPs who voted in favour of a resolution strongly condemning the Sultan of Brunei for human rights violations.

MEP Marietje Schaake said: “The ferocious corporal punishments that have been introduced in Brunei, like punishing gay sex with death by stoning, are repugnant and go against all international human rights legislation.

“Capital punishment could even be imposed on children. We, as Europe, have to respond unitedly.”

The resolution threatens Europe-wide sanctions against Brunei over the law.

More: Asia, Asia, Brunei, Brunei, death by stoning, gay sex, hotels, jpmorgan, sultan of brunei

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