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Stonewall criticises boycott of Brunei-owned hotels

2014-05-16
The-Dorchester-London-Wedding-Photographer-039Gay rights charity Stonewall has criticised the ongoing celebrity boycott of Brunei-owned Dorchester hotels, saying the campaign is unlikely to effect change and risks doing "very real harm" to LGBT people in Brunei. Acting chief executive of Stonewall Ruth Hunt wrote in The Telegraph today that the charity "won't be joining" the campaign's long list of supporters, which so far includes celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Fry, Sharon Osbourne, Lisa Vanderpump and Richard Branson. The boycott is aimed at The Dorchester Collection, a group of ten hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who last month (April) introduced new laws that make anal sex punishable with death by stoning - alongside other offences like rape, adultery, and extramarital sexual relations for Muslims. Hunt wrote that though Stonewall shared "the anger and fury" of those calling for a boycott, in the short-term protests were "most rewarding to the individuals taking part". "We only implement actions that we can calculate will have an impact," she added.

"By turning the issue into a battle between gay people and the Sultan … we limit the opportunity for dialogue and put the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people of Brunei at far greater risk," she said.

"Stonewall prefers to encourage change by working with groups such as the Dorchester Collection to ensure all their employees have fundamental rights at work, while supporting human rights groups with their work around the world.

"The change we’ve seen here in the UK did not happen because of boycotts. It happened because a constellation of campaigners, individuals and companies committed changing the country."

The Kardashians became the latest big name to join the boycott earlier this week (May 14), when it was revealed that the family had moved a planned bridal shower from the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

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