Tag Archives: Brunei

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson Urges Businesses To Shun Countries That Don't Support LGBT People

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson Urges Businesses To Shun Countries That Don’t Support LGBT People

British billionaire Sir Richard Branson urged fellow business leaders on Thursday to shun and use their clout and put pressure on countries such as Brunei that persecute gay and lesbian citizens.

From Sir Richards Blog on Virgin.com

Much has been written and said over the past few weeks about the horrific decision by Brunei’s ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, to introduce a harsh form of Sharia law which includes the death penalty by stoning for same sex-relations, among other draconian forms of corporal punishment.
The news was quickly condemned around the world, by the UN, by governments, civil society organizations and business.
As part of the public outcry, calls for a global boycott of the Dorchester Collection, a group of luxury hotels owned by Brunei’s sovereign wealth fund, quickly gained traction. Many global businesses have supported the boycott or pledged to stop doing business in and with Brunei. Virgin Australia, among others, cancelled an employee travel agreement with Royal Brunei Airlines.
The introduction of a stricter form of Sharia law in Brunei is not a new development. The country’s plans first became public in 2014, and the condemnation was widespread and swift. At Virgin, we decided back then to no longer do business with the Dorchester Collection – a ban we’ve upheld since, as a matter of principle that reinforces our commitment to LGBT+ rights everywhere. 
Of course I am particularly worried about the LGBT+ community in Brunei, who have good reason to fear that the law will – at the very least – drive them into hiding, possibly even exile. While there’s hardly any help available inside the country, allies are not far away. Singapore’s leading gay rights group, Oogachaga, has set up a hotline and WhatsApp channel that offers emotional support to Brunei’s LGBT+ community. It’s an important lifeline we all should share and support.
Virgin is proud to be a founding member of Open for Business, a wonderful platform that was set up specifically to fill the void and build and champion the business case for LGBT+ inclusion. Its most recent Channels of Influence report provides useful guidance for businesses interested in a in a more in-depth conversation on the best course forward. Demonstrating that LGBT+ inclusion is a win-win proposition for both business and society may indeed be a good starting point to effect the lasting change we should all be seeking, in Brunei and elsewhere.
Alongside many others, I have signed a letter urging business leaders to stand up for the freedom to love,

Sultan of Brunei’s Beverly Hills Hotel Loses Major Charity Functions

The Special Needs Network and The John Wayne Cancer Institute are both pulling out of previously scheduled galas at the Beverly Hills Hotel … because the hotel owner, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei’s support of killing gay people by stoning to death in his country

The SNN’s signature spring event — the 11th Annual “A Pink Pump Affair // A Celebration of Women” — was scheduled for May 19 at the hotel … but now they are moving the fundraiser to the Beverly Hilton in support of the LGBT community.

Also the JWCI is moving its 34th Annual Odyssey Ball — scheduled for May 4 — to the Montage Beverly Hills

Meanwhile in London on Saturday 100’s of protesters against new Islamic laws in Brunei gathered outside the Dorchester Hotel following international outcry over the Southeast Asian nation’s draconian measures.

Demonstrators chanted “shame on you,” and some broke through barriers to stand at the entrance of the hotel.

Britain’s Labor Party lawmaker Emily Thornberry said Brunei should be “chucked out” of the Commonwealth group of nations if the laws are not revoked.

“Any hatred against anyone is hatred against all of us. Our fight is with the sultan of Brunei. Our fight is with this terrible law. We say no,” she said.