Richard Branson, Virgin’s founder and CEO, announced employees of his company will boycott hotels run by the Sultan of Brunei due to the country’s anti-gay laws.
‘No Virgin employee, nor our family, will stay at Dorchester Hotels until the Sultan abides by basic human rights,’ he wrote on his Twitter account.
Branson’s announcement is part of a growing number of celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres and Stephen Fry, who are turning their backs on the Dorchester Hotel Group, owned by the Sultan.
On 1 May Brunei implemented Islamic Sharia laws that will eventually lead to the stoning of gay people.
The country’s new penal code, according to the Brunei Times, covers ‘theft, illicit sexual relations, making unproven accusations of illicit sex, causing physical hurt, drinking intoxicants, apostasy, and acts contrary to Islamic beliefs.’
The plan is to implement this legal code in three years. There will fines and prison sentences for various crimes during the first phase. Amputations for stealing during the second phase. Lastly, death by stoning for sexual crimes like adultery, rape and gay sex in year three.
‘This Act without doubt, is now part of the great history of our nation,’ the Sultan said, as reported by the Brunei Times.
In early March, Branson wrote a column for Entrepreneur magazine, arguing LGBTI equality is good for business.
‘Research shows that companies that have a diverse workforce have a distinct advantage,’ Branson pointed out.