Queer Eye star Bobby Berk ‘won’t be back to Bali’ after government investigates villas for ‘catering to gays’
Queer Eye star Bobby Berk has hit out at the government in Indonesia for investigating villas in Bali that market themselves to the gay community.
It was revealed this week that authorities are investigating at least four villas in Bali because they encourage gay people to stay there.
The news must have come as a particular shock to Bobby Berk – who is responsible for interior design on Netflix’s Queer Eye – as he is currently in Bali.
Queer Eye star Bobby Berk won’t be going back to Bali.
“Well this is very disappointing to read on my last day visiting,” Berk wrote on Twitter.
“Won’t be recommending or coming back if this is now how the government here is going to act,” he added.
According to Coconuts Bali, a villa in the beach resort Seminyak first received attention on social media, which alerted authorities.
Well this is very disappointing to read on my last day visiting. Won’t be recommending or coming back if this is now how the government here is going to act.
The Facebook page of a villa under the name “Angelo Bali Gay Guesthouse”, which has since been taken down, made headlines for catering to the gay community.
Well this is very disappointing to read on my last day visiting. Won’t be recommending or coming back if this is now how the government here is going to act. “Bali villas investigated for 'catering to gays' and 'tainting' island's reputation” #Bali #LGBTQ https://t.co/KnbWdHZr7J
— Bobby Berk (@bobbyberk) January 14, 2020
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Some of the photos shared on the page by the guesthouse reportedly featured photos of gay male couples, and on TripAdvisor it is described as “a small, luxurious, all-men, clothing-optional gay guesthouse”. According to its website, the villa stopped operating on January 9 with no explanation.
Bali doesn’t recognise ‘that culture.’
I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara, head of Bali’s Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), said: “We received a report, including the one on social media about this villa, accommodation or a guesthouse marketing themselves specifically for the gay community… Here in Bali we don’t recognise that culture.”
The head of the Badung regency’s cultural agency, I Made Badra, also said the existence of the villa was “tainting Bali’s tourism” reputation.
Since then, authorities have said that three other villas in Seminyak and Kerobokan are also catering to the LGBT+ community.
Although the island of Bali has historically been seen as one of the most tolerant places in country, in general discrimination and violence against LGBT+ people is on the rise in Indonesia.
Gay sex is currently legal in most regions of the country, including Bali, but there are no discrimination protections for LGBT+ people and same-sex relationships are not recognised.