In a series of tweets Saturday, Elton John wrote, “I commend my friend, George Clooney, for taking a stand against the anti-gay discrimination and bigotry taking place in the nation of Brunei – a place where gay people are brutalized, or worse – by boycotting the sultan’s hotels.”
“Our hearts go out to the good, hardworking employees of properties owned by the Sultan of Brunei, many of whom we know to be gay,” the veteran gay rights campaigner continued in another tweet.
“We must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable. That’s why David [Furnish, Elton John’s husband] and I have long refused to stay at these hotels and will continue to do so,” the Grammy-winning singer tweeted, adding that he hoped others to join them in solidarity.
On Thursday, Clooney criticized Brunei’s announcement that the country will implement Islamic criminal laws to punish gay sex by stoning offenders to death. The Oscar-winning star also called for the boycott of nine hotels in the U.S. and Europe with ties to the Southeast Asian leader.
"Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?" wrote Clooney in Deadline.
He argued that Hollywood is capable of applying pressure to address human rights violations.
“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 wrote.
Clooney wrote that you can't shame "murderous regimes," but you can shame "the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with them."
The nine hotels mentioned by Clooney, in the US and Europe include the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles and London’s exclusive Dorchester.
In another tweet, Elton John included the full list of “hotels to boycott."
On Friday night, “Real Time” host Bill Maher and a guest went after Clooney over the actor’s call for a boycott.
During the panel discussion, Maher said it “really bothered” him.
“It’s chickens—t tokenism,” Maher said. “What about Saudi Arabia? If you really want to get back to them, stop driving, don’t use oil.”
Panelist S.E. Cupp, a CNN host, called Clooney “hypocritical,” pointing out that Hollywood does “a ton of business” with the United Arab Emirates, another nation whose laws have been criticized.
“It’s Sharia Law, which is some version of the law in most Muslim-majority countries,” Maher continued. “And if you want to be against that, you know, speak openly and honestly about standing up for liberal principles.”
The HBO star added that liberal activist Clooney is a “really smart guy” who knows about problems in the Middle East, but concluded that the actor’s “virtue signaling” ultimately won’t make an impact.
“This idea that the Sultan of Brunei is going over the receipts from the Polo Lounge .. ‘Oh no, we only sold two soups today,’” Maher joked.
It has been nearly five years since the infamous celebrity boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel came and went after it was revealed that its owner – the Sultan of Brunei – had decided to implement a harsh interpretation of Sharia Law. At the time, Elton John and a number of other prominent Hollywood figures – including Ellen and Richard Branson took to Twitter to denounce the hotel.
The Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air are part of the Dorchester Collection, owned by a wing of the Brunei government referred to as the Brunei Investment Agency.
“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,” a representative for the hotel told Fox News on Friday. “Inclusion and diversity remain core beliefs as we do not tolerate any form of discrimination.”
The new laws take effect on April 3.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.