American Marketer

Travel and hospitality

George Clooney urges peers to boycott Dorchester Collection

March 29, 2019

The Dorchester Collection operates hotels in Beverly Hills, CA, London and New York, among other locations. Image credit: The Dorchester Collection


Luxury hospitality group The Dorchester Collection is seeing boycotts from celebrities, a large portion of its business and other affluents as actor George Clooney urges the movement forward.

The re-surge of boycotts for these hotels comes a few years after the original movement began, in support to stop extreme anti-LGBT violence by the owner of the hotels. The Sultan of Brunei, who owns the group, is putting into place one of the harshest versions of Sharia Law in his small monarchy, in which citizens believed to be gay will be stoned and whipped to death.

Human rights violations
While the movement was strong the first time around, with the cancellation of major Hollywood events that were supposed to be held at hotels such as The Beverly Hills Hotel (see story), over time focus began to die down.

Mr. Clooney is hoping to bring back this outrage ahead of the April 3 deadline, when the new policy will begin in Brunei.

Through a column in Deadline, Mr. Clooney urges consumers and fellow celebrities to join him in continuing the boycott, listing the nine hotels owned by The Brunei Investment Agency.

Other celebrities such as actress Jamie Lee Curtis have backed Mr. Clooney in his statement.

Exterior of The Dorchester Collection, London. Image credit: The Dorchester Collection

“They’re nice hotels,” Mr. Clooney said in his statement. “The people who work there are kind and helpful and have no part in the ownership of these properties.

“But let’s be clear, 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,” he said. “Brunei is a monarchy and certainly any boycott would have little effect on changing these laws.

“But are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations?”

Hotels included in the list are The Dorchester, London; The Beverly Hills Hotel; Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles; Le Meurice and Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris; Hotel Eden in Rome and Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan.

"Dorchester Collection’s Code (emphasizes) equality, respect and integrity in all areas of our operation, and strongly values people and cultural diversity amongst our guests and employees,” said Brittany Williams, communications director at Beverly Hills Hotel, in a statement to USA Today on behalf of the Dorchester Collection. “Inclusion and diversity remain core beliefs as we do not tolerate any form of discrimination."

Mr. Clooney reiterated that the individuals working at these locations are hardworking people, who are unrelated to the harsh injustices happening overseas. But giving money to these locations helps support the violation of human rights.

Social media has an amplifier effect on many aspects of today’s life. Marketing is one of them.

While social media has increased the power of influencers, sponsored posts and online self-promotion, marketing strategies are equally exposed to criticism and reproach.

Social media can set a trend real fast using the power of video advertising going viral. A product hence can really and easily boost its sales.

However, the flip side of this power can work in reverse as well (see story).