Those responsible for marketing hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei have some serious thinking to do after their owner announced that gay sex and adultery in the Sultanate would be punished by stoning to death, in line with the Sharia law now in operation there.

The move has sparked an international outcry as the inhumanely cruel Biblical punishment is seen by many as just extreme and sadistic torture. Victims are buried up to head and shoulders and the stones, which are specified as having to be “large enough to cause real damage but small enough to do it slowly”, are thrown by a number of individuals so that no one person can be accused of the killing.

The association with stoning to death is a deeply uncomfortable one for those operating the Sultan’s luxury hotels, which comprise The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane in London, the Colworth Park in Ascot, the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, USA, the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, USA, Le Meurice and the Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, France, the Hotel Eden in Rome, Italy and the Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan, Italy. A spokesperson for the group has claimed that it “did not tolerate any form of discrimination” and that “Dorchester Collection’s code emphasises equality, respect and integrity in all areas of our operation, and strongly values people and cultural diversity amongst our guests and employees. Inclusion and diversity remain core beliefs”, all of which now comes across as hypocritical and hollow PR.

Starting off what will be a long campaign against the Dorchester Collection, celebrities such as George Clooney, Sir Elton John and Ellen Degeneres have called for boycotts of hotels in the group, an activity that could also be effected against those organisations booking them for business purposes.

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