SE Cupp: Celebrities boycotting Beverly Hills Hotel owned by Brunei sultan's investment group
Cupp: Brunei now has Sharia law, but celebs happy to make repressive UAE a destination
UAE punishes homosexuality, adultery can bring death -- yet Hollywood makes movies there
Cupp: If celebs want to oppose repression, shun UAE, not local hotel employing U.S. workers
Editor’s Note: S.E. Cupp is co-host of “Crossfire,” which airs at 6:30 p.m. ET weekdays on CNN. She is also the author of “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity,” co-author of “Why You’re Wrong About the Right,” a columnist at the New York Daily News and a political commentator for Glenn Beck’s The Blaze. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Imagine a place where police use online dating services to entrap and arrest gay men. Or a country that arrests a 14-year-old girl for adultery and then performs an invasive “virginity test” on her. Or where a woman is sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.
Hollywood celebrities are rightly outraged to discover that places like this exist, and they’re showing it by boycotting the Beverly Hills Hotel, owned by an investment group of the Sultan of Brunei’s, to protest his country’s new Sharia laws against homosexuality and adultery.
Brunei is merely a newcomer on the scene. It joins 81 other countries where homosexuality is illegal. And, sadly, it’s hardly the only place in the world where adultery is punishable by death.
But the place I was talking about before, where homosexuals are arrested and deported, and adulterers are sentenced to stoning, wasn’t Brunei. It was the United Arab Emirates, a favorite destination and filming location for wealthy Hollywood celebrities.
Remember “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”? That was filmed in Dubai. Justin Timberlake will perform in Abu Dhabi this month. Jennifer Lopez performed in Dubai in March. The last “Fast & Furious,” No. 7, is reportedly filming there right now. George Clooney, Ben Affleck, the Kardashians – have all been popular guests of the money-soaked Emirates.
And the money flows both ways. Abu Dhabi Media, wholly owned by the United Arab Emirates, has invested hundreds of millions in American film companies. In 2012, for example, its subsidiary, Image Media Abu Dhabi, financed a new movie starring Matt Damon called “Promised Land,” about the evils of hydraulic fracking. That’s right – an anti-fracking movie was subsidized by the oil-rich UAE. You gotta love Hollywood.
It’s unclear how far Brunei will go in enforcing its newly adopted Sharia law—and there are few instances in recent years of the UAE actually carrying out Sharia punishments, such as flogging. But the laws allowing such sentences are on the books.
Whereas it’s unlikely most Hollywood celebrities could locate Brunei on a map (it shares the huge island of Borneo with Malaysia and Indonesia), I bet many know their way to Dubai.
Will they boycott the United Arab Emirates, with its glitzy, Hollywood-friendly hotels, star-studded film festival, picturesque shooting locations and oil-rich investment money, if they know its politics are similarly intolerant?
Brunei is a little too exotic, far away and easy to avoid. And while much closer to home, so is the Beverly Hills Hotel. I’m sure there are plenty of other venues willing to host movie premieres, record launch parties and Lindsay Lohan’s entourage.
So rather than Hollywood celebrities boycotting a Los Angeles hotel – in the town where they live, no less – putting hundreds of American workers out of work, they should get to know the inconvenient truths about the world they live in and put their money where their mouths are.
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