George Clooney critisized for Brunei ‘warning shot’ remarks

Clooney has long been involved with politics, as he’s seen here speaking with President Obama | Photo: Wikimedia George Clooney came under fire from LGBTI advocates on Friday (10 May) after he called a boycott of Brunei-owned hotels a ‘warning shot’ for countries with similar laws.

In late March, Clooney called for a boycott of nine hotels owned by Brunei after the small Southeast Asian country imposed the death penalty on LGBTI people.

But comments the Ocean’s Eleven made on the US talk show Ellen proved problematic to some LGBTI people, Huffington Post reported . What did Clooney say?

Pressure mounted for weeks after the Sultan of Brunei announced he would roll out a severe interpretation of Shariah law onto his citizens. This included, but certainly not limited to, stoning gay people.

But the Sultan announced his government would not enforce the death penalty. LGBTI activists and allies wholly welcomed the U-turn.

Clooney discussed the economic activism people used to pressure the Sultan, mainly boycotting the Sultan’s plump business portfolio.

‘It’s not fixed yet … but it’s a huge step forward after this giant leap backwards,’ he told Ellen DeGeneres.

‘It sends a warning shot over to countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, who are also considering these laws, that the business people, the big banks, those guys are going to see: “Don’t even get into that business.”‘ How did people react?

Not too well. Some LGBTI organizations pointed out that major differences between Brunei and its neighbors.

‘I call on George Clooney and Hollywood to listen and work together with local activists and human rights defenders on the ground,’ Numan Afifi, president of the LGBTI advocacy PELANGI Campaign in Malaysia, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.