Skip to main content

Home News News World

George Clooney says the Sultan of Brunei’s death penalty backlash sends a warning to other countries

The actor was one of the first major celebrities to call out the Sultan of Brunei's anti-gay death penalty law

By Steve Brown

Words: Steve Brown

George Clooney said the Sultan of Brunei’s decision to backtrack on the death penalty for gay sex is a ‘huge step forward’ but it’s ‘not fixed yet’.

Last month, the tiny Asian kingdom – which follows the strict Sharia law – announced they will be introducing the death penalty for gay sex.

The announcement caused international backlash and many celebrities – including Elton John and George Clooney – called for a boycott on hotels and businesses owned by the Sultan of Brunei, one of the richest men in the world.

However, just over a month after passing the law, the Sultan of Brunei revealed they will no longer use the archaic capital punishment for gay sex.

Although the backtrack has been praised worldwide, Clooney recently vowed he will be keeping pressure on the tiny country and other countries including Indonesia and Malaysia.

And now, while speaking to Ellen, Clooney said the situation is ‘not fixed’ yet.

He said: “That doesn’t matter so much to a rich guy. You can’t shame bad people. But you can shame the people who do business with them.

“But when the banks and when the financial institutions started saying, ‘We’re out of the Brunei business’ then [the Sultan of Brunei] backed off.

“And said put a moratorium on it. It’s not fixed yet but it’s a huge step forward after this giant leap backward.

“The reason for this is this is something that is manageable.

“It sends a warning shot over to countries like Indonesia and Malaysia who are also considering these laws.

“That the businesspeople, the big banks, those guys are going to say don’t need to get into that business. That’s the reason to do it.”

Watch the interview below: