Brunei: Ellen DeGeneres urges ‘rise up’ as anti-gay laws come into force

Brunei: Ellen DeGeneres urges ‘rise up’ as anti-gay laws come into force. Billie Jean King has now joined the boycott

Ellen DeGeneres has urged people to “rise up” against new laws coming into force in Brunei today (3 April) which will see gay people stoned to death.

The comedian and talk-show host posted on Twitter and said people “need to do something now.”

“Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei,” DeGeneres continued. “Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up.”

She also tweeted a list of the hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei, which can be read in full here.

High-profile figures from across the world have condemned new anti-gay laws in Brunei

A number of other high profile figures have also come forward to condemn the new anti-gay laws as they come into force.

Robert Palladino, Deputy Spokesperson under US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said Brunei’s new laws run counter to their international human rights obligations.

“All governments have an obligation to ensure that all people can freely enjoy the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled,” Palladino said.

“The United States strongly opposes violence, criminalization and discrimination targeting vulnerable groups, including women at risk of violence, religious and ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons.

“Please boycott these hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up.”

– Ellen DeGeneres

“We continue to encourage Brunei to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which it signed in 2015, and to sign, ratify, and implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

The laws were also condemned by Ron Galperin, LA Controller, who called on city residents to boycott hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei in a Facebook post.

“I will not set foot in these establishments so long as they are owned and controlled by a regime that is willing to kill LGBTQ people.

Brunei says new anti-gay laws will ‘deter’ people from anti-Islamic acts

Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Queen Saleha (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty)

“While I feel bad for the many hard-working employees of these local hotels, no one should support or attend any events there while lives are on the line.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Policy Canada also came forward to slam the new laws, saying they were “deeply concerned” about the decision. They said Canada supports human rights for all and always opposes the death penalty.

Elton John: ‘Such treatment is unacceptable’

The fresh wave of condemnations of Brunei comes over a week after it first emerged that the Asian country—which has a population of just 500,000 people—was set to introduce the death penalty for gay people and adulterers.

George Clooney led calls to boycott hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei in an op-ed for Deadline last week.

Elton John echoed those sentiments last weekend when he said his heart went out to “good, hardworking employees” of Brunei-owned hotels—but said a boycott was necessary.

“We must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable. That’s why David and I have long refused to stay at these hotels and will continue to do so,” he said.

On Monday 1 April, the UN’s human rights chief Michelle Bachelet branded the new laws “cruel and inhuman.”

“I appeal to the Government to stop the entry into force of this draconian new penal code, which would mark a serious setback for human rights protections for the people of Brunei if implemented.”

She also said that the death penalty “is disproportionately applied against people who are already vulnerable.”