Bill Maher took aim at George Clooney’s call for the boycott of nine hotels that are owned by the Sultan of Brunei — a nation soon to implement criminal laws that would implement the death sentence on those who engage in gay sex — during HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher on Friday.
Clooney on Thursday voiced his concern about Brunei in a guest column for Deadline, in which the actor asked, “Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?” He went on to say, “I’ve learned over the years of dealing with murderous regimes that you can’t shame them. But you can shame the banks, the financiers and the institutions that do business with them and choose to look the other way.”
“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,” Clooney wrote.
Speaking with guests Andrew Sullivan and S. E. Cupp, Maher said Clooney’s call for action “bothers” him because he considers it an example of “chickenshit tokenism.”
“Brunei has passed a law that you will be stoned to death if you are gay or committed adultery, and here we come back with the call from Hollywood celebrities to boycott the Beverly Hills Hotel,” said Maher to his guests, referencing Clooney’s column. “This really bothers me because it’s chickenshit tokenism. What about Saudi Arabia? If you really want to get back at them, stop driving or using oil.”
Sullivan also weighed in on Clooney’s boycott by saying, “The nice thing about a free society is that you can have a political life and then you can have your actual life. Not everything has to be political.” He added, “We shouldn’t be dictating our lives by religion, according to the dictates of wokeness. It kills the vitality of a free society.”
Quipped Maher, “George Clooney is a smart guy who knows about the issues in the Middle East. He made a movie about it called Syriana.”
The new law in Brunei is set to take effect Wednesday.