Ellen DeGeneres has joined Elton John and George Clooney and other voices, famous or otherwise, in calling for a boycott of all the hotels and properties in the Dorchester Collection, which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, given his country’s implementation today of a new set of Sharia laws that will see, among others, the penalty of death by stoning for gay people and adulterers.
She also included a message encouraging her followers to "rise up" and "spread the word."
"Tomorrow, the country of #Brunei will start stoning gay people to death. We need to do something now. Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up," DeGeneres tweeted.
DeGeneres first spoke out for a boycott of these properties in 2014 when word first spread that Brunei would be instituting such laws, the Advocate reported.
Other celebrities who have spoken out for a boycott include George Clooney and Queer Eye's Bobby Berk and Jonathan Van Ness.
Currently, there are 73 countries – mostly in the Middle East, Africa and Asia – where homosexual activity between consenting adults is still illegal. Some countries only criminalise sex between men but a growing number have recently expanded their laws to include bisexual and lesbian women.
And in some nations where homosexuality has been decriminalized, LGBTI people can still face violence, arbitrary arrest, imprisonment and torture, according to Amnesty International.
There are currently eight countries in which homosexuality is punishable by death, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s (ILGA) latest State-Sponsored Homophobia report.
These are Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen; parts of Somalia and northern Nigeria, under sharia law. The death penalty is applied by non-state actors, including Islamic state, in Syria and Iraq. This list now needs to be opened up to include Brunei.
In addition, the death penalty could be handed down under sharia law in Mauritania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, though it does not appear to have been implemented, the report says.
Interestingly, the only country in the Middle East where homosexuality is not only not a criminal offence, but actually celebrated in one of the most famous gay pride parades in the world, is Israel, at its famous annual Mardi Gras event in Tel Aviv.