This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.
The Villa Angelo located in Indonesia’s party island Bali boasts every amenity you could desire. It’s got a pool, open spaces, free breakfast, and, of course, an optional clothing policy. While the establishment enjoys high ratings from guests, it is now under scrutiny from officials for catering to gay men.
Located in Seminyak, a popular tourist district that’s close to the famed Kuta Beach, it is now under investigation by Badung’s Local Public Order Agency. This comes amid Indonesian authorities’ increasing intolerance towards the LGBTQ community.
The issue started after a viral post supposedly stated Villa Angelo’s gay-exclusive policy.
“We received a report, including the one on social media about this villa, accommodation or a guesthouse marketing themselves specifically for the gay community... We will follow up on this issue.” I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara, who heads the Local Public Order Agency in the Badung regency, told Tribun.
In a statement released to Merdeka, Suryanegara also went on to say that the policy was unbecoming of Balinese values.
“Their website highlights the villa as specifically for the gay [community], here in Bali we don’t recognise that culture,” he said.
I Made Badra, who is the head of the Badung regency’s cultural agency, remarked that the villa’s presence was “tainting Bali’s tourism” reputation.
According to Coconuts, at least three other villas are being investigated for the same reason.
The investigations have caused widespread condemnation on social media and LGBTQ websites, with some popular voices airing their opinions online.
One of the “Fab Five,” Queer Eye’s Bobby Berk, took to Twitter to say: “Well this is very disappointing to read on my last day visiting. Won’t be recommending or coming back if this is now how the government here is going to act.”
With its predominantly Hindu population and reputation as a party island, Bali is known for having relatively liberal views when it comes to the LGBTQ community, especially compared to the rest of majority-Muslim Indonesia.
Although being gay is not illegal in most parts of the country, the anti-LGBTQ sentiment is high. For example, many Indonesians were reviled after news came out last week that the Indonesian national Reynhard Sinaga had raped up to 190 men in the United Kingdom. Many Indonesians condemned the heinous acts and unfortunately, linked his crimes to his sexuality.
Villa Angelo's Facebook page and website have reportedly been taken down; no statement from the owners has been released.
Find Aditya on Instagram.