Hollywood actor George Clooney’s boycott movement against hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, seems to be a victory after the sultan decided to backtrack on the capital punishment law against the LGBT community in Brunei.
The Ocean’s Trilogy star made his appearance on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’. The episode was aired last week on May 9. The talk show host Ellen is a part of the LGBT community herself.
When Clooney was asked about his “victory” against the Sultan of Brunei, he said his boycott is also a warning shot to other Islamic countries neighbouring Brunei, like Indonesia and Malaysia. He added that the other two nations mentioned are considering implementing death penalty law on the LGBT community.
However, Malaysia is not considering enforcing capital punishment on the LGBT. The last known conviction with regards to LGBT was the case of two women attempting to have lesbian sex in a car in Terengganu.
Then, the state government sentenced both women with six strokes of the cane and RM3,300 fine each.
Clooney’s statement not only angered Malaysians for accusing Malaysia of considering implementing capital punishment on LGBT, but also for his intrusion into Malaysia’s laws.
Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya warns the Hollywood actor to be careful on what he says as his claim about Malaysia is false. Additionally, he said that Malaysia is a Muslim-majority nation and the religion prohibits LGBT behaviour.
Port Dickson parliamentary member Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told Clooney to mind his own business. He added that Malaysia should consider all views on rights issues, but it does not need to bow to outsider. Anwar was pardoned by the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V of his second sodomy charge a year ago (May 16, 2018).
Local LGBT activist Numan Afifi also disagreed with Clooney. He said the actor’s statement is well-meaning but might also be counterproductive to the local LGBT community. Numan resigned as Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq’s press officer last year after the public backlash over his sexual orientation.