Clooney rejects apology from British tabloid
This report has been updated since first posted on 07/09.
LONDON – George Clooney said Friday he will not accept an apology from a British tabloid for publishing what he called a “completely fabricated” article.
The actor had chastised the Daily Mail over a story claiming his fiancee’s mother disapproves of the impending marriage for religious reasons.
Clooney said Wednesday that the claims about his future mother-in-law Baria Alamuddin were untrue and irresponsible.
Clooney and London lawyer Amal Alamuddin announced their engagement in April. Beirut-born Alamuddin comes from a Druse family — adherents of a monotheistic religion based mainly in Lebanon, Syria and Israel.
The Daily Mail cited unnamed “friends” as saying Amal Alamuddin risked being “cast out of the community” because she was not marrying a Druse man. The newspaper said “several women have been murdered” for not abiding by strict Druse rules.
Clooney said in a statement to USA Today that “none of the story is true. Amal’s mother is not Druse. She has not been to Beirut since Amal and I have been dating, and she is in no way against the marriage.”
Clooney added that “to exploit religious differences where none exist is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous.”
“We have family members all over the world, and the idea that someone would inflame any part of that world for the sole reason of selling papers should be criminal,” he said.
The Daily Mail removed the article from its website and apologized to Clooney, but managing editor Charles Garside insisted it was “not a fabrication.”
In USA Today on Friday, Clooney said he doesn’t buy Garside’s claim that the article was based on conversations “with senior members of the Lebanese community.”
Clooney wrote: “The original story never cites that source, but instead goes out of its way to insist on four different occasions that ‘a family friend’ spoke directly to the Mail. A ‘family friend’ was the source. So either they were lying originally or they’re lying now.”
The star claimed “the Mail knew the story in question was false and printed it anyway.”
Clooney, 53, was married to actress Talia Balsam from 1989 to 1993. This will be the first marriage for 36-year-old Alamuddin.
The Druse are a close-knit community and rarely marry outside their sect. But some Druse have welcomed Clooney.
Walid Jumblatt, political leader of the sect in Lebanon, told The Associated Press recently that he hoped the couple would soon visit the Druse heartland.
Clooney will bring us “great publicity,” Jumblatt said. “He can make a movie about the Druse sect.”
Associated Press writer Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.
With files by Global News.
© The Associated Press, 2014