- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Russell Crowe is fighting back against fellow celebrities who are openly boycotting the Brunei-owned Dorchester Collection Hotels, arguing that their protest is hurting local families.

“Sending me abuse will not stop my support of Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Trans Gender rights. The laws that Brunei are adopting are hideous,” the “Noah” actor tweeted last week.

“However, throwing the staff of Dorchester Collection Hotels under the bus to make a political point is not acceptable to me,” he said.

His comments come after celebrities such as Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, Richard Branson and Lisa Vanderpump boycotted the hotel chain after Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced he was implementing Shariah law. The sultan owns Dorchester Collection Hotels, and the Beverly Hills Hotel, specifically, has reportedly suffered significant financial losses.

“These are hard working people with families and I guarantee you they come from all walks of life,” Mr. Crowe tweeted. “To me, it is not acceptable collateral damage to ignore them. These are people I know, people I consider friends.

“The decision to enact these laws is reprehensible and horrifying. Pressure your govt to cease trade contact, refuse to use Brunei oil,” he said.

The initial phase of Shariah’s rollout in Brunei will introduce punishments for lesser offenses such as failure to attend Friday prayers and indecent behavior. A second phase is to start later this year that will introduce dismemberment and flogging for crimes such as theft and robbery. Death by stoning will be introduced late next year for greater offenses such as sodomy and adultery.

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