Industry takes stand against anti-human rights laws in Brunei

An industry stand against anti-human rights laws passed by the Sultan of Brunei last week has resonated across social media, following a move by Max Publishing to change the venue of this year’s Brand and Lifestyle Licensing Awards.

Industry executives have not only supported the move by the awards’ organisers, but been vocal in their own stance in the face of laws that came into force in Brunei early last week, that include stoning or whipping to death people in gay relationships.

The Brand and Lifestyle Licensing Awards 2019 was scheduled to take place at The Dorchester Hotel later this month. However, organisers quickly joined the protest and ongoing campaign to boycott the Sultan’s assets by changing its venue last week.

The Dorchester is among the nine luxury hotels that are owned by the Sultan of Brunei through the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Brunei Investment Agency.

“We felt compelled to join the international outcry against the barbaric laws now in place in Brunei, which includes the death penalty by stoning or whipping, for those in a gay relationship or committing adultery and the amputation of hands or feet for acts of theft. So wrong on very level,” said Jakki Brown, joint owner of Max Publishing.

The move, just weeks ahead of this year’s event taking place on April 25th, has been met with a show of support and admiration from sponsors and licensing industry executives, a number of whom declared their own stand against the laws.

Among them is Susan Bolsover, licensing and consumer products director at Penguin Ventures, who via social media, said: “I am proud to be part of an industry that stands up for ethics, morals and puts itself on the right side of the argument.

“The work it must have taken to move an imminent event from one venue to another in such a short space of time is incredible, but such the right decision.”  

The Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards 2019 will now take place at London’s Hilton Park Lane. It will keep its original date of Thursday, April 25th.

Ian Hyder, joint owner of Max Publishing, added: “The news that we have been able to find an alternative venue for the B&LLAs has been very warmly received. The licensing industry and those within our community have a great deal of integrity.

“There is no way that awards that celebrate the industry’s achievements could take place at a venue where the profits of which contribute to a regime that is at odds with basic human rights.”

Awareness of the laws in Brunei and a campaign for a boycott of the hotels owned by the Sultan has been led by names including George Clooney, Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres.

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