TIME Music

John Legend and Taye Diggs Had a Sexy Voicemail Sing-Off

Please leave a message after the falsetto.

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Nine-time Grammy Award winner John Legend just unofficially defeated former “Rent” actor Taye Diggs in a sultry sing-off to see who could record the sexiest voicemail message.

The “All of Me” singer soulfully implored his future callers to leave him a message Thursday night on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, promising the audience in his iconic falsetto that he would eventually call them back.

Diggs, presumably unable to match Legend’s heartfelt effort, jokingly crooned a few off-key notes before conceding defeat to Legend, who can now add “Best Voicemail Recording Artist” to his already impressive list of accolades.

TIME Opinion

Here’s Hoping No Man’s Sky Isn’t the Next Elder Scrolls: Arena

How deep can a sci-fi game about "exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated universe" really be?

I want to think well of No Many’s Sky, a game — at least I think it’s a game — about ripping off into an infinitely big, infinitely procedural, infinitely beautiful universe and doing, well, we’re not sure exactly what yet.

Exploring? Check. Cataloging other species? Maybe. Dogfighting in a spaceship? Perhaps. Wondering a lot what the point of No Man’s Sky is? Sounds like it.

If you want to know a little more, GameSpot’s just done a superlative series of videos on the game — each about 10 minutes long — and gleaned a few more details from Guildford-based developer Hello Games. You can find those videos clustered here.

The promise of No Man’s Sky isn’t so much that it looks amazing, like a reified Roger Dean painting, but the moment in that initial surprise reveal trailer back in 2013 where, down on an otherworldly planet, someone swims out of a sparkling azure ocean, strides across a beach bounded by crimson and gold grass and climbs into an X-Wing-like spaceship (without the wings). The canopy pops down, the music kicks up, and the ship rockets into the sky…then flies out of that sky and into starlit orbital space, bustling with asteroids and plasma-trailed fighters and Brobdingnagian capital ships, all of that rendered as one balletic, seamless sequence — a beautifully choreographed wish-fulfillment tease.

That go-anywhere, do-anything premise may be one of the oldest and most anticipated and most often broken promises on the books. Games have been making it for decades, this notion that a video game (or whatever you want to call these things now, as they pull against that term’s shackles) can be a portal to another world — a place as real as reality, and as lovely, dark and deep.

But we know it’s still a false promise in 2014, how easy it is to shatter the illusion when you brush against the simulated world’s facades. And so playing massively-single-player games that purport to simulate towns or cities or worlds or universes requires a psychological ingredient without which the games wouldn’t work: projection. Humans are masters of interpolation, and to play a game that’s partly a world-building exercise on its own terms, you have to suspend entire mountain ranges of disbelief.

We’ve come parsecs over the decades, graphics-wise, but made very little headway in world-building games when it comes to genuinely simulating said worlds. The occupants of The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim are only slightly smarter (if prettier) signposts and semaphores than the ones we pinballed between in The Elder Scrolls: Arena 20 years ago. The guards in Assassin’s Creed IV are mostly brain-dead obstacles you have to puzzle past — weaponized dots on a map not so different from the ones we slunk past in Castle Wolfenstein or the original Metal Gear. The juking, jiving citizens wandering the streets of Los Santos in Grand Theft Auto V are props you’re meant to experience in passing, if at all: jostle or walk on by, pull out a gun and threaten or simply ignore.

It’s the cost of doing business given today’s technological limitations: build the stage, staff it with actors roughly as versatile as brainless animatronics, then let you wander around a sandbox filled with sand you’re only allowed to sculpt into a handful of things. Today’s go-anywhere, do-anything games are far nearer souped-up Choose-Your-Own-Adventures than the sort of idealized virtual reality experiences involving at least Turing test-passable encounters we’ve been dreaming about (in books and movies and games) for decades. They’re the sum of their mechanics (racing, shooting, flying, this or that mini-game, etc.) and little else.

To be fair, No Man’s Sky isn’t promising the moon (or at least not that sort of moon). Hello Games hasn’t created some exotic form of in-game artificial life, or devised a way to let you literally do whatever you like in the game (say become an interplanetary rock star, or a solitary backwater spinner of clay pots), or — and I say this presumptively but assuredly — found a way to eliminate the telling facades. No Man’s Sky will have limits, and I’d wager they’ll be as profound in the end at the micro level as the game claims to scale at the macro one.

But will it be any fun to play? That’s the question, once you’ve throttled any pretense of it being a game about letting you do whatever you like. What do you do in No Man’s Sky, and what makes it worth doing? Will that list of to-dos, once they’ve been enumerated, wind up looking like so many others? A lot of the novelty of Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls: Arena vanished, for instance, once you smacked into its procedural seams and wound up surrendering to its rail-like “go to this dungeon, get this widget” story rhythms.

Will No Many’s Sky end up in the same shortfall trap? Will I care once I’ve cataloged my 134th kind-of-sort-of-dinosaur-thingy? Splashed around in my 532nd alien ocean? Destroyed my 43rd capital ship? Collected my umpteenth bounty?

Hello Games doesn’t want to say what the point of the game is. I admire their reluctance to, but I’m also worried about their reluctance to. I’d like to think there’s a rabbit in the hat (or maybe a whole bunch of rabbits waiting to pop out), but I’m a skeptic. I’ve been here too many times before. I want to believe No Man’s Sky‘s going to be more than just a pretty bauble of a game, but history and hindsight haven’t been kind to dreamers when it comes to open-ended games.

I suppose that’s what No Many’s Sky has going for it most at this point, having fired our imaginations. We’re still in the dreaming stage, and between now and the game’s unspecified future release, there’s still hope.

TIME Television

Catch Up: What Happened on Masters of Sex Last Year

Masters of Sex
Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in Masters of Sex Michael Desmond—Showtime

Get ready to jump back in the sack

This post contains spoilers for season 1 of Masters of Sex, which is the whole point.

Showtime’s acclaimed series Masters of Sex comes back for its second season this weekend — so if all you can remember about the first season is that there was a lot of sex in it, here’s everything you’ll need to remember:

  • Everyone saw Virginia naked: And not just the television audience. In a quest to secure funding and recognition for his sex study, Dr. Masters went all-out on his presentation to the staff, providing martinis and live-action video. Though the doctors in the room were comfortable while he discussed male sexuality, his open discussion of female sexuality crossed a line — especially when he showed the video footage he took of Virginia Johnson reacting to orgasm. Though Virginia’s face was never shown, somehow everyone seems to have guessed who that anonymous volunteer was. Libby, Masters’ wife, asked him directly whether the woman was Virginia, but he couldn’t reveal the identity of a study participant.
  • Bill really saw Virginia naked: Of course, Libby’s right. That was Virginia, and not just for science: Masters and Johnson are having an affair. At the season’s end, she discovered that he had given her proper credit for her work on the study — and that he wants her to come back, to work with him and presumably more.
  • Bill’s not the only contender for Virginia’s affections: Ethan still loves Virginia, and he asked her to marry him and move to California (with her kids, natch) to be with him.
  • There’s a new character: After a devastating miscarriage earlier in the season, the pregnant Libby Masters — Dr. Bill Masters’ wife — ended the season going into early labor. We know that the baby made it through, but when the season ended Bill, who was with Virginia at the time, didn’t even know the baby had been born.
  • Dr. DePaul has given Virginia a mission: Lillian DePaul revealed that her cervical cancer — the reason for her quest to make pap smears more common — is terminal. She asked Virginia to make sure her work continues after she’s gone, which may be difficult considering her study has no institutional support and she’s unable to attract patients who are wary of a female gynecologist.
  • Barton may be in danger: Barton Scully, Bill’s boss, had been considering electroshock therapy to cure him of his homosexual desires, even though his wife Margaret thinks he should try another route. Foreshadowing?
  • …But not as much danger as the study is in. After the super racy presentation, Bill was fired from the hospital.

Season two kicks off on July 13.

TIME movies

Songs of the Time: Richard Linklater on the Music of Boyhood

Boyhood
A scene from 'Boyhood' IFC Films

In a film that took 12 years to make, a soundtrack jogs the memory

Think back: to your first high-school dance, to the first time a parent spoke to you like an adult, to the summer it seemed like your friendships would last forever, to getting in the car to drive away after your heart had just been broken. Which song was on the radio?

For someone out there, in a situation similar to that last one, it was “Hero” by the band Family of the Year. And, because that person happened to be one of the music “consultants” on the new movie Boyhood (July 11), that song was also playing at a key moment in the movie’s main character’s life.

“Everything in the movie is attached to something real,” filmmaker Richard Linklater tells TIME. “It all kind of happened in some form or fashion. I wanted the same with the music. I wanted to hear, ‘I just broke up with my girlfriend and I was driving in a car and that song came on the radio and it made me feel like everything was O.K.’ That means something to me, that somebody somewhere had an emotional experience with that song. I didn’t want songs that no one had an opinion about.”

That mission — to populate Boyhood with songs that could stir up emotions — was particularly important given the film’s unusual backstory. Linklater (who also spoke to TIME for this week’s issue) spent 12 years filming the story of his protagonist’s youth, which allowed him to catch young star Ellar Coltrane growing up in front of the camera. Linklater describes the movie as different from anything he’d ever done before, and says the music was no exception. Though he tried it with an orchestral score, that felt too authorial, like adding a voiceover. Instead, he decided, every song heard in Boyhood would have to be something that the characters would actually listen to, in that year and that place in their lives.

“It had to be songs of the time,” he explains. “Music is obviously such an evocative nostalgia or memory trigger, for a place and time. You hear a song and pow! You’re back in eighth grade.”

That’s where the consultants came in. Linklater says that he originally intended to ask Coltrane and his young co-star Lorelei Linklater (the director’s daughter, who plays the hero’s sister) what kids their age were listening to, but found that their tastes were too specific to themselves and not the characters. (He liked Rage Against the Machine; she liked harpsichord music.) So he recruited a few young people — interns, friends of kids of other people — to write narratives about songs that were up for inclusion on the soundtrack, as a litmus test.

“It was fun to get educated,” he says, even about types of music that he wouldn’t ordinarily listen to, like the Cobra Starship song that will take many viewers right back to the summer of 2009. “You look at it from a kid’s point of view and go, hey, if I was this age I would totally love this. Ultimately everything in the movie I do like.”

For the songs that weren’t the soundtrack to real-life moments, Linklater used the characters as touchstones for the songs. For example, the musical aspirations of the protagonist’s father, played by Ethan Hawke, shaped the soundtrack. In fact, many of Hawke’s lines directly address the music they’re accompanied by, from a scene in which he deconstructs a Wilco track to one in which he gives his son the gift of a CD of songs from the Beatles’ post-Beatles solo career.

“For a while I was playing with George Harrison’s ‘What is Life’ [for that scene]. It was a bit on-the-nose,” Linklater says. He ended up with Paul McCartney’s “Band on the Run,” which he describes as one of the greatest pop songs ever made. It also captures what he calls “the eternal-ness of all things Beatles” in one of the film’s few moments in which the song playing doesn’t offer a timestamp of sorts, a clue as to which year we’re looking at.

Most of the film’s music was picked after the fact, as the decade-plus of shooting began to come to an end. The logistical advantage of that strategy is clear, as it resulted in what Linklater describes as extreme luck in terms of licensing songs from major artists. (Rap songs proved hard to get because of the complicating nature of samples, he says, and Weezer shut down the use of one of their songs, but otherwise the production scored songs relatively easily.)

There proved to be a strategic advantage too: picking songs more recently allowed Linklater the advantage of knowing which songs would stand the test of time. “You could already look at it from the future,” he explains. “This film is a period film shot in the present.”

For the film’s later scenes, however, the benefit of hindsight was unavailable. Eventually, the consultants’ memories gave way to Linklater’s tastes, his guesses at which songs will hold that power years from now. He recalls that when he was making 2001’s Waking Life he listened to Radiohead’s Kid A and the Flaming Lips’ The Soft Bulletin over and over. (Linklater has been a Flaming Lips fan since the ‘80s and their hit “Do You Realize??” appears in Boyhood.) Those albums were new at the time. Over a decade later, hearing them brings him back.

The album that served that function for Boyhood was Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs. “I met [Arcade Fire’s] Will Butler last year and I was like, ‘Hey man, you don’t know how much that album occupied the last part of this movie,’” Linklater says. The song “Deep Blue” from that album ended up playing over one of the movie’s closing scenes.

There’s just one exception, one song in the film that will summon no memories for viewers. Linklater is one of the only people in the world who might feel differently, as the song that plays over the end credits is a new track that Jeff Tweedy wrote for the movie.

Studies have shown that musical tastes are mostly set by time Linklater’s story ends, by the age at which boyhood begins to be replaced by the specter of adulthood, the barrier that separated Linklater from his music consultants. The filmmaker was aware of that fact, and that’s part of the reason why he was so careful about the music he used: his character was going through the age at which music has the most power to implant itself in memory. For the young, every song is its own moment. With age the music becomes what Linklater calls undifferentiated. The feelings it provokes are, accordingly, less specific—and thus less useful for artistic purposes.

At the same time, his own experience belies that finding. Linklater’s feelings about the music in Boyhood are extremely specific.

In fact, “Hero,” that song his consultant remembered soothing a post-break-up heart, nearly didn’t make the cut. It was the very last song chosen for the film, and Linklater thought it might be, like the George Harrison song, too much. He changed his mind because it was for a moment that needed a little bit of “too much” in order to work.

“You know when it works,” Linklater says of the music. “That’s the good thing. You know it when you finally crack it.”

TIME celebrity

Report: Angelina Jolie Taking ‘Legal Action’ Against Daily Mail Over Video

Maleficent Press Conference Photocall
Angelina Jolie attends "Maleficent" press conference for Japan premiere at Grand Hyatt Tokyo on June 24, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Jun Sato--WireImage

The actor is said to be upset over a video the Daily Mail posted, which purports to show her addicted to heroin during the 1990s

This hasn’t been the best week for the Daily Mail and its celebrity relationships. Just days after actor George Clooney published a scathing op-ed in USA Today, railing against the Daily Mail‘s “irresponsibility” in publishing a story about his fiancée’s family opposing their relationship on religious grounds, a new celebrity has taken aim at the British publication.

Angelina Jolie is taking legal action against the Daily Mail, reports the London Times, over a video published online, which the newspaper claims shows the actress when she was a heroin user in the late 1990s. The 16-minute video, which was originally published by the National Enquirer, shows the actress walking around an apartment and talking on the phone. The clip was allegedly shot by Franklin Meyer, who claims to have been the Oscar winner’s drug dealer when she was living in New York, according to the Mail’s article, which was published on July 8.

Jolie has dicussed her past drug use in interviews before, but the Times reports that she views the Daily Mail‘s publication of the video as a “gross violation of her privacy.”

[London Times]

 

TIME movies

Here’s How Rob Reiner Taught Meg Ryan to Fake an Orgasm for When Harry Met Sally

MCDWHHA EC029
Billy Crystal, director Rob Reiner and Meg Ryan on the set of When Harry Met Sally Columbia

"I'll have what she's having"

After Meg Ryan faked an orgasm in Katz’s Deli in When Harry Met Sally, she was launched into superstardom. But in an interview with HuffPost Live, director Rob Reiner says he was actually the one who taught the young actress everything she knows about faking it.

“Meg was nervous,” Reiner said of filming what became the iconic “I’ll have what she’s having” scene. “Obviously you’re in front of extras and all the crew members and everything. So the first few times we did it, she did it kind of weak. It was a little tepid.”

Reiner then told her, “‘Look, let me show you what I want’ after a few takes that weren’t so good. I sat down opposite Billy… and I’m sitting there pounding the table, doing the whole thing.”

Shortly after, the director said, “I realized, this is embarrassing, I’m having an orgasm in front of my mother.”

He was, of course, referring to the woman who actually uttered the now-famous line, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

[Huffington Post]

TIME Television

Watch the 14 Best Television Intros of All Time

From The Addams Family to The Simpsons, these opening sequences are an indelible part of television history

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Showtime’s Masters of Sex, back on television July 13, has one of the most creative opening sequences on the small screen today, using imagery ranging from a train entering a tunnel to a volcano erupting; allusions to fornication abound without ever actually showing the act itself.

Take a look at other creative and memorable television intros from over the years.

TIME Television

REVIEW: The Strain on FX

Michael Gibson/FX

This giddily gross-out vampire thriller is better the less good it tries to be.

Sometimes, making good TV is all about knowing the difference between bad ridiculous and good ridiculous. Tyrant, the Middle East drama that premiered last month on FX, was immediately ridiculous in all the wrong ways: its caricatures of Arab strongmen and their victims, its strained seriousness, its Homeland-meets-Dynasty family dynamics. Sunday, as if in recompense, the same network premieres The Strain, an oozy, disgusting vampire drama that is just as ridiculous as it should be.

How ridiculous is that? You may have seen the ads that show a worm crawling out of a human eyeball. They’re repulsive and intrusive, but they’re also truth in advertising. The Strain, adapted from novels by director Guillermo Del Toro, is silly and inventively grotesque, a rich fondue of blood and cheese. It has Nazi vampires. It has an ancient Armenian undead-hunter who carries a sword-cane and talks to a beating heart that he keeps in a jar. It has Corey Stoll in an absurd hairpiece that may well be a sentient being. It has enough gross-out depictions of vampiric biology that if you plan your Sunday meals around airings, you will lose ten pounds by the fall.

It may well not be your thing, but if it is, the first four episodes of The Strain have enough stylish gore, enough well-paced mystery and little enough self-seriousness to keep you watching, giggling, through your fingers. We begin at a New York City airport, where an overseas flight from Berlin has landed, radio-silent, with its passengers apparently overcome by a deadly illness. This attracts the attention of epidemiologist Ephraim Goodweather (Stoll), along with his team from the CDC (Mia Maestro and Sean Astin) who suspect a viral epidemic. If only! The plane, we soon learn, was carrying contraband, something–or someone–whose arrival is very important to a cabal of evil plutocrats in Manhattan, the type of wicked old bastards for whom the word “cabal” was invented.

The Strain comes to us from Carlton Cuse, co-producer of Lost with Damon Lindelof, who just premiered the mysterious, melancholy The Leftovers for HBO. And while it would be too simplistic to impose a Lennon-McCartney, Seinfeld-David dualism on the men who gave us Lost‘s philosophical entertainment, for the purpose of these two projects at least it seems like Lindelof got the philosophy and Cuse the entertainment. The Strain will lovingly autopsy corpses for you, but it doesn’t spend much time dissecting what it all means. (A voiceover about how “Love is our downfall” opens and closes the pilot, but it has about as much import as the Vincent Price rap from Thriller.) The dialogue is B-movie–”You tell those sons-of-bitches I am done!”–and the supporting characters dissolve with the merest shaft of sunlight; they are simply carriers for The Strain’s plot virus.

TV is not exactly short on undead drama in the Twilight years of pop culture. What distinguishes The Strain is that it emphasizes biology over mythology. Without giving too much away, Del Toro’s vampires–as the title suggests–are not so much damned as infected, and the series details their transformation and effluvia with giddy grossness. Del Toro directs the pilot, which sets the visual tone for the later episodes: blood-smeared, dirty, in need of a spray of disinfectant. It’s the Old World fear of the devil married to a New World fear of contagion.

Not that this is really a show about ideas, nor should it be. Stoll works hard to bring gravitas to The Strain, something this series needs about as much as Dracula needs a sunroof. The scripts attempt to ground his character with a personal struggle–his marriage is falling apart, he’s a control freak, he works too damn hard and is never “present” at home, yada yada yada–but it all feels mechanical, rote and, well, strained. Just make with the blood-sucking and the dancing hearts already!

And mainly The Strain does. Ephraim may be the show’s center, but its spirit is Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley), the aforementioned vampire hunter, who crashes the CDC’s investigation, expostulating warnings–”Time is of the essence!”–with the crusty brio of Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future. The Strain does not have much subtlety, taste, or high-art credentials. It just has a sword-cane, and it knows how to use it.

TIME Singapore

Singapore Provokes Outrage by Pulping Kids’ Books About Gay Families

Toddler plays with bubbles as participants wait to take part in the forming of a giant pink dot at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore
A toddler plays with bubbles during the Pink Dot parade at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 28, 2014. Edgar Su—Reuters

One of the books, the multi-award winning And Tango Makes Three, recounts the real life-inspired story of two male penguins raising a baby chick at New York's Central Park Zoo

The Singapore government has ordered the National Library Board (NLB) to remove from library shelves and destroy three children’s books that portray gay, lesbian or unconventional families.

The multi-award winning And Tango Makes Three recounts the real life-inspired story of two male penguins raising a baby chick at New York’s Central Park Zoo. The other two banned titles are The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption, which features a lesbian couple, and Who’s In My Family: All About Our Families, which describes unconventional parental set-ups.

The move has resulted in a torrent of opposition in mainstream and social media, the latter largely via the #FreeMyLibrary hashtag. An open letter criticizing the ban has also received more than 4,000 signatures.

“This is a very unfortunate step backwards,” Kirpal Singh, associate professor of English Literature at Singapore Management University, tells TIME. “While we try to balance the conservatives and liberal minded, do we remove anything or everything that gives offense, especially if this offense is quite problematic, quite complex?”

Homosexuality is a sensitive subject in ostensibly modern Singapore. Gay sex remains illegal but is rarely prosecuted, and an estimated 26,000 revelers thronged this year’s annual Pink Dot gay rights rally — one of the largest public gatherings of any sort seen in recent years. Nevertheless, society remains conservative.

According to a NLB statement, “We take a cautious approach, particularly in books and materials for children. NLB’s understanding of family is consistent with that of the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Education.”

The ban was reportedly spurred by a complaint from a single library user who is also a member of the Facebook group “We Are Against Pinkdot in Singapore.”

The NLB boasts a collection of more than five million books and audio-visual materials, and a spokesperson told Channel News Asia that it acts on less than a third of the 20 or so removal requests received each year. (James Patterson’s Kill Me If You Can, which depicts incest, was the subject of a complaint but remains on the shelves.)

Naturally, gay rights activists are outraged. “This unfortunate decision sends a message of rejection to many loving families that do not conform to the narrow father-mother-children definition of family that it has adopted,” said Pink Dot spokesperson Paerin Choa by email. “Pink Dot believes that Singapore can be an inclusive home for its people in all their diversity, and that constructive dialogue should be the way forward for a truly embracing society.”

For Singh, the furor may at least have the positive side effect of prompting debate. “This may contribute to a more vital discussion for Singapore in terms of where we are and where we are not when it comes to values, freedoms and an open state for discourse,” he says.

While praising the NLB as an institution, acclaimed Singaporean author Alvin Pang writes: “This is a serious impoverishment of what books are and what knowledge means, and it can only harm our intellectual development and broader social discourse.”

Justin Richardson, co-author of And Tango Makes Three, would no doubt agree. “We wrote the book to help parents teach children about same-sex parent families,” he told the New York Times in 2007. “It’s no more an argument in favor of human gay relationships than it is a call for children to swallow their fish whole or sleep on rocks.”

TIME celebrities

George Clooney Rejects the Daily Mail’s Apology Over Amal Alamuddin

Omega Le Jardin Secret Dinner Party
Actor George Clooney arrives for the red carpet of Omega Le Jardin Secret dinner party on May 16, 2014 in Shanghai, China. ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

George Clooney is not one to forgive and forget. Not when it comes to his fiancée Amal Alamuddin, anyway

Actor George Clooney has rejected the Daily Mail’s apology over a story in which the tabloid claimed the Lebanese mother of his fiancée opposed their marriage — and preferred that she be married to a member of the Druze religious group.

The small Druze community is found mostly in Lebanon, Syria and Israel. While their monotheistic faith stems from a branch of Shi‘ite Islam, it has adopted teachings from a number of other religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Gnosticism.

The Oscar-winning actor previously slammed the Mail’s article about the family’s attitude to his engagement to Amal Alamuddin, saying the story was “completely fabricated” and exploited “religious differences where none exist.”

“It says Amal’s mother has been telling ‘half of Beirut’ that she’s against the wedding. It says they joke about traditions in the Druze religion that end up with the death of the bride. Let me repeat that: the death of the bride,” wrote Clooney.

On Wednesday the British tabloid (sort of) apologized. The Mail’s statement started by denying Clooney’s fabrication claims and added that the story was based on a trusted journalist’s conversations with a long-standing contact who has strong Lebanese connections. But the statement closed with, “However, we accept Mr. Clooney’s assurance that the story is inaccurate and we apologize.”

Today, Clooney rebuffed the apology in USA Today, saying that the Mail knew ahead of time that it was not telling the truth. He referred to the tabloid’s April article that said Alamuddin’s father, a professor, had married outside the Druze faith and that her mother, a journalist, was not a Druze member. Both of Alamuddin’s parents are originally from Beirut.

“What separates this from all of the ridiculous things the Mail makes up is that now, by their own admission, it can be proved to be a lie. In fact, a premeditated lie,” wrote Clooney.

“So I thank the Mail for its apology. Not that I would ever accept it, but because in doing so they’ve exposed themselves as the worst kind of tabloid,” he said.

[USA Today]

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