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
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1326 GMT (2126 HKT)
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, writes William Piekos.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 2209 GMT (0609 HKT)
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits America, Madeleine Albright says a world roiled by conflict needs these two great democracies to commit to moving their partnership forward
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1802 GMT (0202 HKT)
John Sutter: Lake Providence, Louisiana, is the parish seat of the "most unequal place in America." And until somewhat recently, the poor side of town was invisible on Google Street View.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says in the run up to the 2016 election the party faces divisions on its approach to the U.S.'s place in the world
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1419 GMT (2219 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says Common Core supporters can't devise a new set of standards and then fail to effectively sell it.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1329 GMT (2129 HKT)
Earlier this month, Kenyans commemorated the heinous attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 2057 GMT (0457 HKT)
David Wheeler says Colorado students are right to protest curriculum changes that downplays civil disobedience.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 0158 GMT (0958 HKT)
Sally Kohn says when people click on hacked celebrity photos or ISIS videos, they are encouraging the bad guys.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
Loren Bunche says she walked by a homeless man every day and felt bad about it -- until one day she paused to get to know him
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
ISIS grabs headlines on social media, but hateful speech is no match for moderate voices, says Nadia Oweidat.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
A new report counts jihadists fighting globally. The verdict? The threat isn't that big, says Peter Bergen.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 2137 GMT (0537 HKT)
Ebola could become the biggest humanitarian disaster in a generation, writes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1658 GMT (0058 HKT)
ISIS has shocked the world. But will releasing videos of executions backfire? Four experts give their take.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
Eric Holder kicked off his stormy tenure as attorney general with a challenge to the public that set tone for six turbulent years as top law-enforcement officer.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Obama was elected as a war-ending change agent, not a leader who would leave behind for his successor new engagement in Iraq and Syria. Is he as disappointed as the rest of us?
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0910 GMT (1710 HKT)
Gayle Lemmon says the question now is how to translate all the high-profile feminizing into real gains for women
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1900 GMT (0300 HKT)
John Sutter says the right is often stereotyped on climate change. But with 97% of climate scientists say humans are causing global warming, we all have to get together on this.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1257 GMT (2057 HKT)
Andrew Liepman and Philip Mudd: When we declare that we will defeat ISIS, what do we exactly mean?
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 2040 GMT (0440 HKT)
Thailand sex trafficking
Human trafficking is a multibillion dollar global industry. To beat it, we need to change mindsets, Cindy McCain says.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 2242 GMT (0642 HKT)
The leaders of the GOP conferences say a Republican-led Senate could help solve America's problems.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1401 GMT (2201 HKT)
Nicholas Syrett says Wesleyan University's decision to make fraternities admit women will help curb rape culture.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Mike Downey says New Yorkers may be overdoing it, but baseball will really miss Derek Jeter
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1232 GMT (2032 HKT)
Quick: Which U.S. president has authorized wars of various kinds in seven Muslim countries?
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1817 GMT (0217 HKT)
Women's issues should be considered front and center when assessing a society's path, says Zainab Salbi
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1805 GMT (0205 HKT)
A catastrophe not making headlines like Ebola and ISIS: the astounding rate of child poverty in the world's richest country.
ADVERTISEMENT