5-star hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei deleted their social media after an intense backlash over Brunei's new law punishing homosexuality with death by stoning

BRUNEIhotels thumbA composite images of hotels owned by Brunei's Sultan in London, Rome, Paris, and LA.Getty/AP/YouTube/TheDorchesterCollection

  • Five-star hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei have quit social media after the country was slammed for making death by stoning the punishment for being gay.
  • The Dorchester in London and The Beverly Hills Hotel in LA were among eight hotels who deleted Twitter on Wednesday after a boycott was launched by George Clooney.
  • The new law - based on Islamic Shariah law used in Brunei since 2014 - came into effect in the southeast Asian kingdom on Wednesday.
  • The Sultan of Brunei owns the Brunei Investment Agency, which in turns owns nine of the world's most luxurious hotels.
  • Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

A number of luxury hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei have abandoned social media after a furious backlash to Brunei's decision to make death by stoning the punishment for homosexuality.  

Eight hotels, including The Dorchester, London, and The Beverly Hills Hotel, Los Angeles, deleted their accounts on Wednesday, the same day a new law ordered by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah came into effect, which makes homosexuality punishable by stoning to death.

Celebrities including George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres launched a boycott of nine hotels on March 28, when the law was widely reported in the media.

This post naming the hotels and urging a boycott went viral:

As the backlash rolled on, Twitter accounts belonging to the following hotels disappeared:

  • The Dorchester (London, UK)
  • 45 Park Lane (London, UK)
  • Coworth Park (Aston, UK)
  • The Beverly Hilton Hotel (Los Angeles, US)
  • Hotel Bel-Air (Los Angeles, US)
  • Le Meurice (Paris, France)
  • Hotel Plaza Athénée (Paris, France)
  • Hotel Principe di Savoia (Milan, Italy)

Some hotels made their Instagram accounts private, like Paris's Le Meurice and The Hotel Eden in Rome.

Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris, 875562434Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris,.Getty

Clooney wrote an op-ed for the news site Deadline on March 28, outlining the need for a boycott.

"Every single time we stay at or take meetings at or dine at any of these nine hotels we are putting money directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery," he wrote.

Beverly Hilton Los AngelesThe Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.YouTube/The Dorchester Collection

All nine hotels are run by a company called The Dorchester Collection, which is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency. The agency is owned by the Sultan.

The Dorchester Collection published a statement on Twitter on Wednesday saying it "does not tolerate any form of discrimination."

The recent move to punish homosexuality more harshly was the first major legal reform since 2014, when Brunei began using strict Islamic law as its penal code.

Also included in the new reforms are harsher penalties for theft: the amputation of the right hand for a first offence, and a left foot amputation for a second offence.

Read more: Inside the surreal capital city of Brunei, a tiny nation of unimaginable wealth where oil money pays for everything and half the population lives in a floating 'water village'

All of the new laws require multiple Muslim witnesses to crimes for the penalties to be upheld. In practice, this can make sexual crimes difficult to prosecute.

FILE PHOTO: Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah attends the retreat session during the APEC Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on November 18, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray/File PhotoFILE PHOTO: Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah attends the retreat session during the APEC Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New GuineaReuters

Homosexuality has been illegal for the 423,000 people living in the state - officially known as "Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace" - since its formal independence from British rule in 1984.

Read more: This chart shows how Saudi Arabia is on course to behead more people than ever before in 2019

The oil-rich nation on the north-west coast of the island of Borneo, in the Indonesian Archipelago, is ruled Bolkiah, who is one of the world's richest heads of state, with a net worth of around $20 billion.

The nation punishes many crimes harshly, with some drug offences meriting the death penalty.

bruneiShutterstock/Aleksandr Sadkov

Alcohol is banned, and having children before marriage or failing to pray on a Friday are acts punishable with jail time, the Guardian reported.

Business Insider contacted The Dorchester Collection for comment, but has yet to receive a response.

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