Brunei hotels withdraw from social media amid anti-LGBT law backlash

By Tom Gerken
BBC UGC & Social News

Media caption,
Will George Clooney's Brunei boycott really work?

The social media accounts of Brunei-owned luxury hotels have been deleted or made inaccessible amid an ongoing backlash over anti-LGBT laws.

Brunei introduced strict Islamic laws this week that make gay sex punishable by flogging or stoning to death.

Celebrities including George Clooney are calling on the public to boycott luxury hotels owned by Brunei.

Now the social media accounts of these hotels have become inaccessible following criticism online.

Which hotels are owned by Brunei?

The social backlash appears to have escalated after US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres shared a Twitter post naming the nine Brunei-owned hotels to boycott.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

These nine hotels have now become inaccessible across social media, though not all the accounts have been deleted.

Eight of the hotels' accounts have been deleted or deactivated on Twitter, with just Hotel Principle de Savoia in Italy "protected", meaning it is still present on the website, but the tweets cannot be viewed.

The Instagram accounts of all but three of the hotels have been deleted or deactivated, with Le Meurice and Hôtel Plaza Athénée in France and Hotel Eden in Rome switched to "private" to prevent the posts being viewed.

Finally, all hotels have been made inaccessible on Facebook, with attempts to view their pages presenting an error message.

Dorchester Collection, the company that manages the nine hotels, earlier updated its website to respond to the backlash, writing: "We do not tolerate any form of discrimination."

The boycott has spread far and wide, with Virgin Australia ending a deal with Royal Brunei Airlines and STA Travel similarly announcing it is taking a stance against the airline.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The criticism has continued online with comments remarking on hotel staff specifically, including one commenter who asked if the Dorchester's gay staff members are "being scheduled for stoning".

Others have been critical of this activity on social media, with one person pleading others not to "go after their staff", and another saying they "feel for the homosexual staff working in these hotels".

And some have claimed that "only the staff will suffer" from the boycott, and not the Sultan of Brunei.

Nonetheless these comments may have prompted Dorchester Collection to make its social media accounts inaccessible, as it cited "personal abuse directed at our employees" in its decision.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Review site stops submissions

The backlash against the hotel chain has continued elsewhere with TripAdvisor banning reviews for the hotels on its platform.

Its website has been updated to include a message announcing that the decision was "due to a recent event that has attracted media attention".

"[It] has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience [and] we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing."

It is not clear whether similar restrictions have been made elsewhere, as yesterday criticism continued to appear on review website Yelp.

Image source, Yelp

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