Daily Management Review

Online Anti-LGBT Law Backlash Forces Withdrawal Form Social Media By Brunei Hotels


Online Anti-LGBT Law Backlash Forces Withdrawal Form Social Media By Brunei Hotels
In the wake of an ongoing backlash over anti-LGBT laws, the social media accounts of Brunei-owned luxury hotels have either been deleted or made inaccessible.
Earlier this week, strict Islamic laws were introduced in the country according to which gay sex has been made punishable and offenders would face death penalty by flogging or stoning.
Calls for the public to boycott luxury hotels owned by Brunei have been given by celebrities including George Clooney. And since then, following online criticism, the social media accounts of such hotels have been made inaccessible.
The online criticisms of the Brunei owned hotels on social media started after the sharing of a tweet, which named the nine Brunei-owned hotels to boycott, by US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. And now, even though not all the accounts have been deleted, the social media pages of these nine hotels have now become inaccessible over a number of platforms.
Accounts of eight of the hotels on Twitter have either been deleted or deactivated.  Only the account of the Hotel Principle de Savoia in Italy remains even though it has been "protected" which means that it continues to be present on the website but a user cannot view the tweets.
The accounts on Instagram of six of the nine hotels named have been deleted or deactivated. Only those of Le Meurice and Hôtel Plaza Athénée in France and Hotel Eden in Rome remain but have been switched to "private" so that no one can read the posts.
The accounts of all of the hotels on Facebook have become inaccessible and none can be viewed on the social media platform
In order to respond to the backlash, an updating of its website was done by Dorchester Collection, the firm that manages the nine hotels. It read: "We do not tolerate any form of discrimination."
The call for the boycott resonated from far and wide. A deal with the Royal Brunei Airlines was ended by Virgin Australia while a similar stance with the airline was announced by STA Travel.
However the online criticism of the new Islamic law still continues online and comments have also tended to remark specifically on hotel staff and one of the comments also asked whether the gay staff at Dorchester were "being scheduled for stoning".
Such comments have however also been criticised by social media users who have asked other users not to to "go after their staff". Another comment said they "feel for the homosexual staff working in these hotels". And some have claimed that "only the staff will suffer" from the boycott, and not the Sultan of Brunei.
But this has forced the Dorchester Collection to make its social media accounts inaccessible and it said that the decision was based on "personal abuse directed at our employees".
Reviews for the Brunei hotels on its platform have been banned by travel planning platform TripAdvisor.  The website of the online company has been updated with a message that that says that the decision of the ban was "due to a recent event that has attracted media attention". "[It] has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience [and] we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing."