Brunei recently passed a law in accordance to the Islamic Shariah Law, which is stoning LGBT people to death as a form of capital punishment. This caused a worldwide backlash, particularly the boycott of nine international hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.
American actor George Clooney was the first celebrity to initiate the movement, and it has been supported by various celebrities like Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres, Dua Lipa, and many more.
Some fans were trying to keep up with the movement but then realised they could not even afford to stay at these hotels, let alone boycott them.
Apparently, hotels aren’t the only international assets owned by the royalty of Brunei that were affected by the movement.
Besides hotels, Virgin Australia terminated their deal with Brunei’s national airlines, Royal Brunei, which allowed their staff to purchase discounted tickets from them. Furthermore, STA travel, an international travel agency, will no longer arrange flights with Royal Brunei.
Additionally, London Underground took down all of Brunei’s marketing ads in their subway. A spokesperson said although there were compliant with their advertising policy, they were taken down to avoid offending the public due to the current controversy.
Currently, there are over 61,000 petitions to strip Brunei Sultan’s Honorary Degree of Civil Law by diploma from Oxford University. Oxford said they are committed to the ideals of equality, diversity, and individual rights, and believe. Hence, the academic institute will review the sultan’s honorary degree.
Oxford was not the only institute to award the Sultan of Brunei. The University of Aberdeen, King’s College London, and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have awarded the Sultan in the past. As of today, only RCGP did not respond to the issue.
According to past reports, Brunei had tried to pass this law back in 2014, which faced similar business backlash. Therefore, the law did not come into full effect, the news eventually died down, and the business revenue recovered.
In time, perhaps more Brunei related businesses would be unearthed for the masses to boycott. But would these business boycotts have a lasting effect on Brunei’s economy?