A statement from the acting Chief Exec of Stonewall, explains why Stonewall won’t be backing the Dorchester Collection boycott.

Britain’s biggest LGB charity has announced that it won’t back a boycott of a hotel group owned by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, who has confirmed that he will continue his adoption of a Sharia criminal code in his country.

This law carries harsh penalties for adultery and sodomy – which includes death by stoning.


The Dorchester Collection has a number of hotels across the world including The Dorchester in the UK’s capital and The Beverly Hotel in California.

The Sultan’s actions have caused calls from the around the globe to boycott the chain – backed by many Hollywood names and celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno

However Ruth Hunt, the acting Chief Executive of Stonewall stated,

‘At Stonewall we share the anger and fury of those calling for a boycott but we won’t be joining them’.

‘The recent boycott of The Dorchester Collection has undoubtedly raised awareness in the West of the issues in Brunei but the crucial questions for Stonewall are whether there is a mandate for the boycott and would such a boycott work? We believe the answer is no, on both counts. I do not believe the somewhat beleaguered Christopher Cowdray, Chief Executive of the Collection, can somehow influence the implementation of Sharia criminal code in Brunei. He can’t. I do, however, fear that the boycott could do very real harm to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people of Brunei. By turning the issue into a battle between gay people and the Sultan – which it isn’t, it affects everyone in Brunei, not just gay people – we limit the opportunity for dialogue and put the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people of Brunei at far greater risk. A group of people, I hasten to add, who’ve yet to publically call for a boycott.’

‘Stonewall’s plan is to instead work with groups, like the Dorchester, rather than against them. Companies have enormous power to change and challenge cultures and we help them utilise that influence.’


Read the full statement on the Stonewall website

A former Tory Chairman, said that Stonewall’s refusal to boycott the Dorchester Collection ‘doesn’t make sense’

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Lord Dehen criticised Stonewall’s decision not to back a boycott. Speaking to Pinknews about the British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) decision not to hold an event at The Dorchester, Lord Deben said, ‘Well done Magazine editors. I think no decent organisation should use a hotel owned by someone who stones women accused of adultery and gay people purely because of their sexuality. I think that everyone should boycott The Dorchester Collection.’

Have your say, What do you think Stonewall should do?

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