BEIRUT: George Clooney Friday slapped down Britain’s Daily Mail’s apology over a report it had published on his future mother-in-law, saying the newspaper knew the story was false.
Earlier this week, the newspaper published a report that Baria Alamuddin, a Lebanese-born journalist, was against her daughter marrying the actor and director on religious grounds.
Clooney responded in a rare letter to USA Today, denying the report as 'fabricated' and saying it incited religious violence.
"The irresponsibility, in this day and age, 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," Clooney said in his initial letter.
Hours after the letter was published, The Daily Mail issued an apology to Clooney, saying the story had been "supplied in good faith by a reputable and trusted freelance journalist."
"We accept Mr. Clooney's assurance that the story is inaccurate and we apologize to him, Miss Amal Alamuddin and her mother, Baria, for any distress caused."
However, the apology fell short of satisfying Clooney, prompting him to issue another damning letter that argued that the apology itself proved the newspaper knew in advance the story was a fake.
“There is one constant when a person or company is caught doing something wrong. The cover-up is always worse,” Clooney, scheduled to tie the knot in September to Lebanese-born Amal Alameddin, said.
“In this case, the Daily Mail has printed an apology for insinuating religious tensions where there are none. In the apology, managing editor Charles Garside claims that the article was ‘not a fabrication,’ but based on conversations with senior members of the Lebanese community."
“The problem is that none of that is true. 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.”
“Furthermore, they knew ahead of time that they were lying. In an article dated April 28, 2014, reporter Richard Spillett writes in the Mail that ‘Ramzi, (Amal's father), married outside the Druze faith,’ and a family friend said that ‘Baria, (Amal's mom), is not Druze.’ The Mail knew the story in question was false and printed it anyway.”