The actor has called for a boycott of assets owned by the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah. Photo: Reuters

George Clooney has called for a boycott of nine luxury hotels in the US, UK, Italy and France which are owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who recently announced the introduction of the death penalty for homosexuality in the kingdom.

The actor has called for a boycott of assets owned by the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, who has held the throne since 1967, and boasts a personal fortune of $20 billion.

“In the onslaught of news where we see the world backsliding into authoritarianism, this stands alone,” Clooney wrote in an opinion piece for Deadline in which he referred to the sultan as “the Big Kahuna,” adding that “Brunei isn’t a significant country.”

The move comes in response to the kingdom’s recent announcement of the imposition of Sharia law, which includes stoning or whipping to death for any citizen caught engaging in adulterous or homosexual sex. Theft will now be punishable by amputation when the law takes effect on April 3.

“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,” Clooney argued. “Are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations?”

Brunei is a tiny kingdom with a population of just 450,000 located on the island of Borneo, neighboring the Islamic nations of Indonesia and Malaysia. It does, however, have significant oil reserves and was ranked by Forbes as the world’s fifth-richest nation.

The nine hotels (including the Dorchester and 45 Park Lane in London, and the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles) are operated by the Dorchester Collection luxury chain, which itself is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency.

Clooney did, however, concede that similar efforts in the past eventually were only “effective to a point” as the outrage that fueled the initial boycott eventually subsided “and certainly any boycott would have little effect on changing these laws.”

The Kingdom of Brunei first announced its intention to introduce Sharia law back in 2013 but only recently confirmed the death penalty for homosexuality and adultery, which will take effect from April 3.

Clooney received many plaudits for his activism online.