Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Hollywood hypocrites find a new cause

By S.E. Cupp
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 2126 GMT (0526 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 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.

(CNN) -- 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.

S.E. Cupp
S.E. Cupp

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.

Opinion: Why stone them for who they love?

Author: Sultan of Brunei breaks own rules
Leno wife on Beverly Hills Hotel boycott

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.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 25, 2014 -- Updated 0633 GMT (1433 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2312 GMT (0712 HKT)
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1257 GMT (2057 HKT)
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2115 GMT (0515 HKT)
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2239 GMT (0639 HKT)
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2345 GMT (0745 HKT)
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 2134 GMT (0534 HKT)
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2113 GMT (0513 HKT)
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1740 GMT (0140 HKT)
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
ADVERTISEMENT